What the Match Review Panel had to say about THAT James Bell tackle compared to John Asiata

The headlines last week were dominated by tackling technique following two season ending injuries that were picked up by Aganatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley as St Helens faced Leigh Leopards in the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Both tackles were committed by Leigh skipper John Asiata with the loose forward seen to dive low towards the knee of the big men, something that has resulted in a nine month lay off for Paasi (MCL, ACL and damaged ankle ligaments) and a three month lay off for Walmsley (MCL), who misses the climax of the season for the second year in a row.

Asiata wasn’t charged for any tackles but was cited three times by the Match Review Panel, however Saints’ boss Paul Wellens strongly disagreed with this decision claiming that his players had been let down by the RFL who had failed to take action and therefore set a precedent.

It now seems that a precedent has been set with Saints forward James Bell seen to be using a very similar tackle technique on Friday night against Leeds Rhinos, something that got rival fans on social media very animated.

At half time it was put under the microscope by the Sky Sports’ team with Bryan Carney outlining the technique used.

“Now we will say about this, this is not an illegal tackle technique, a legal one, but it would certainly resemble the ones that St Helens have informed the Rugby Football League to look at at the end of the season,” Carney explained.

“The RFL of course have said in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, techniques like this will be some that they look at and make a decision at the end of the season.”

Former Saint Kyle Amor responded: “Yeah, look, exactly like how I viewed Asiata’s tackle, it’s not a tackle that I want to see in the game.

“A lot of the players and the current players, former players, would like to see it eradicated out of the game.

“However, as fate would happen tonight, they would produce that. But, as I said with Asiata’s tackle, as it stands, Brian, there’s nothing wrong with that at the moment.”

The Match Review Panel also evidently saw it as they have cited Bell, but true to form with Asiata they have not charged him.

Here’s what the Match Review Panel said about the incident.

“Dangerous Contact: Player drives forward to make legitimate tackle on opponent who is moving and contacts the opponent around the ankles.”

By contrast, this was the wording the used last week for John Asiata’s three tackles.

“Dangerous Contact: Player gets body onto the ground prior to contacting opponent’s legs and actions of players teammate push opponent back towards player.”

“Dangerous Contact: Player goes to make legitimate low tackle on person who is running towards him and arm is knocked away from wrapping by opponent’s leg.”

“Dangerous Contact: Player makes legitimate initial contact with upper thigh of opponent who is moving forward. Legitimate actions of teammate with upper body contact force opponent’s body in tow different directions.”