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Why Leeds Rhinos star avoided red card despite head contact

As Leeds Rhinos star Justin Sangare hit Castleford Tigers talisman Joe Westerman hard in their game to begin Rivals Round on Thursday, a debate raged on about the tackle.

The video referee believed no card nor penalty was required whilst Jon Wells said on Sky Sports that the incident was accidental head on head contact whilst fellow commentator Mark Wilson wasn’t convinced.

Speaking on Sky, Wilson said: “He’s holding his face here, Joe Westerman, he’s not happy with the challenge that came in. The physios have come on here so the referee will stop play. There was heavy contact wasn’t it from Sangare.”

Jon Wells responded by explaining why he wasn’t carded: “Westerman mixing up his ball play and he’s running, he’s so valuable, so vital to this Castleford Tigers attack.

“Well and defence for that matter. It’s Westerman who carries, and it’s just a head clash. It’s a head clash with Sangare. But there is a direction, there is a change here in the interpretation.”

This seems to be why Sangare avoided a red card.

Leeds Rhinos star avoids red card

Earlier this season we have seen incidents like the one in question result in a red card such as Fa’amanu Brown for Hull FC.

This resulted in a change in the rules and is likely why Sangare avoided a red card or indeed a yellow. However, had it been his shoulder, it could have been different.

Wilson wasn’t convinced it was head on head and indicated it could have been a shoulder. He asked of the tackle from the Leeds Rhinos star: “Well is it his head or is it his shoulder job?”

Wells though doubled down on his belief: “I think, first replay showed me head on head. But it is the tackle’s responsibility to make sure that he’s not endangering the ball carrier I’m looking at that, I think I said that’s head on head contact. Interesting, the referee is having a look at this but no penalty.”

Meanwhile, Wilson also doubled down on the belief that the Tigers weren’t pleased with the call either: “Well, Westerman are not overly happy with that Castleford are not overly happy with that.”

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