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Why Leeds Rhinos star was controversially banned for minor charge

Castleford's Jack Broadbent is tackled by Leeds Rhinos player Cameron Smith at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle. Smith was given a Grade B Dangerous Contact charge in Super League Disciplinary action.

The Match Review Panel have reported their findings after Round Six of Super League, dishing out seven charges including five bans with one controversially going to a key player for Leeds Rhinos.

Of the seven players charged only Harvey Livett escaped with just a fine, the Huddersfield Giants man copping a Grade B charge and a £250 fine for making contact to the head in the Giants’ win over London Broncos.

One man who could be set for a major ban is Wigan Warriors’ forward Liam Byrne with the Irishman being handed a Grade E charge for his red card offence in the Good Friday derby.

Chris Kendall sent Byrne off after he made head contact with Mark Percival and now the prop will face the Operational Rules Tribunal tomorrow night facing the prospect of a three to five-game ban if found guilty.

That in itself will be controversial but another ban that could be controversial is Cameron Smith’s of Leeds Rhinos, the captain being hit with a one-game ban despite only being handed a Grade B charge.

A ban is at the higher end of a Grade B sanction and Smith wasn’t actually charged with making contact to the head, something that the RFL are nailing down on it as seen with Tyler Dupree’s Grade C that carries a ban too.

Instead, Smith was punished for dangerous contact made during Leeds Rhinos victory over Castleford Tigers meaning that Rohan Smith’s side could be without their captain for their Round Seven clash with Warrington Wolves.

What the Match Review Panel said about Leeds Rhinos star’s ban

Rohan Smith and new Leeds Rhinos captain Cam Smith.

Leeds Rhinos were forced to work hard for their win over Castleford Tigers with the Rhinos defending multiple sets on their line in the first half whilst being forced into several goal-line drop-outs.

As such the pressure was on them and captain Cam Smith went to try and relieve it with some kick pressure but ended up nailing Danny Richardson after the kick had gone.

The Match Review Panel have since banned him for one game but they’ve also explained why that Grade B sanction carries a ban, something that is only used on the higher end of the Grade.

On the incident, they said: “Dangerous Contact – A defending player makes contact with an opponent after the ball has been released by an opponent in a vulnerable position which causes flexion to the head, neck or spinal column on an attacking player, which poses an unacceptable risk of injury to that player.”

It now waits to be seen if Leeds will contest the charge with the game against Warrington Wolves set to be a stiff task with or without Smith in the pack.

That’s especially because fellow forward Justin Sangare has also been handed a one-game ban for his tackle on Joe Westerman, the Frenchman deemed to have made contact with the head of the Tigers’ loose forward.

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