Tribunal were keen to avoid “serious precedent” linking injuries and bans in St Helens case

Tonight Morgan Knowles could return to the St Helens side after a lengthy ban.

Despite only being graded with a Grade D offence, Knowles was hit with a longer ban than the guidelines for causing injury to Mike Cooper of Wigan Warriors.

This was because the penalty notice was removed and the same fate could have befallen teammate Matty Lees as he went to tribunal on Tuesday after a Grade D offence.

It came after a fiery affair between St Helens and Salford Red Devils which was one of a number of games that featured heavily in the disciplinary.

A huge 16 players charged by the disciplinary panel.

Among those 16 players was Leeds, as well as his teammate Curtis Sironen.

Lees of the Saints has been sent to tribunal for striking.

According to the Match Review Panel minutes the incident was for a strike with an elbow or forearm off the ball which has been branded as reckless.

The tribunal will be heard tomorrow.

“Strikes – Strikes with elbow/forearm – off ball – reckless.”

The RFL have announced tonight that Lees pleaded guilty to the charge and therefore has been hit with a two game ban.

St Helens released their own statement.

“Lees pled guilty to the Grade D charge of a reckless, off the ball strike on a Salford Red Devils opponent during the first half of Saturday’s Betfred Super League fixture.

“As a result of the suspension Lees will therefore be unavailable for the Saints’ fixtures against Halifax Panthers in the Betfred Challenge Cup this Friday night, and next Friday night’s away Super League fixture against Leeds Rhinos.”

The reason Lees avoided this ban is because the RFL were keen to avoid creating a dangerous precedent linking injuries and bans:

“The Tribunal agreed that it would be a help to the Tribunal if they had been provided with the material that substantiates the extent of the injury that has been caused to the opponent following the incident.

“The Tribunal feel that there’s potential for a serious precedent if they were to make a judgement without that. The Tribunal agree with the Club that they have the inability to challenge the evidence in its current state.

“The player is therefore suspended for 2-matches, as this would have been the sanction had the penalty notice not been removed.”

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