Why Leeds Rhinos star avoided ban despite head high tackle

Round One of Super League is in the rear view mirror but with that comes the disciplinary side of the game.

Six Super League players were cited this weekend which saw the 2023 season kick-off in style.

Following an action-packed weekend of rugby league, albeit only five Super League games given St Helens were down under contesting the World Club Challenge, there have been five offences dealt with.

A further player has been handed a caution.

The list of players involved includes two current England internationals whilst two other men feature on the list for the second game running following offences in pre-season.

Morgan Smithies, Tom Amone and Jack Hughes have all received £250 fines, highlighting the way in which the new disciplinary process works.

Both Elliot Minchella and Andy Ackers got off without any punishment whilst Sui Matagi was cautioned.

Super League Round One disciplinary round-up:

Morgan Smithies (Wigan Warriors) – Grade B Dangerous Contact – £250 fine
Tom Amone (Leigh Leopards) – Grade B Dangerous Contact – £250 fine
Elliott Minchella (Hull KR) – Grade A Dangerous Contact – No further action
Jack Hughes (Leigh Leopards) – Grade A Dangerous Contact – £250 fine
Andy Ackers (Salford Red Devils) – Grade A Dangerous Contact – No further action

One player not banned, fined, or charged was Kruise Leeming much to the dismay of Warrington Wolves fans.

Leeming hit Josh Thewlis around the head in the first half of the game as the Wolves ploughed through the Rhinos in Round One.

Many felt it deserved a card, like Aidan Sezer’s tackle against Hull KR in pre-season.

A year ago, it would have done and likely would have led to a ban but quite rightly it was pointed out by official Liam Moore at the time and by the disciplinary panel that Thewlis was dropping down to the ground when he hit Leeming’s arm.

The match review panel said of the incident: “Player does not swing his arm. Opponent drops quickly down towards the player’s hip.”

Cameron Smith also avoided a ban for dangerous contact due to these reasons:

“Player leaves the ground but does not apply undue pressure to the leg of the opponent. No
injury sustained to the opponent.”

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