Why Morgan Knowles’ appeal failed

On Tuesday night St Helens appealed the one match ban given to star player Morgan Knowles after he was charged with Grade B “dangerous contact” against Hull FC.

The Saints wanted Knowles in the mix for their game against Huddersfield Giants tonight and thus named a 20-man squad instead of the full 21 in the hope that they could add him to the squad.

They argued at the tribunal that it was not reckless but in fact careless from Knowles and that this should only warrant a Grade A charge and therefore no ban.

However, the tribunal dismissed the appeal but why?

Here is what the tribunal determined:

“The Tribunal are in agreement that there is clear contact after the ball has gone. Contact is with the shoulder of the player to the upper body of the opponent, who was facing his colleague to whom he had passed the ball.

“It is urged upon us that the speed is irrelevant to this charge and that it is only ¼ second between the opponent passing the ball and contact with the player, however, this cannot in our view significantly lessen the seriousness of the offence because it is also submitted that it is that unchecked speed that has led to contact after the ball has gone but which has prevented the player taking any action to prevent significant flexion to the opponent’s head. It is clear to the Tribunal that the player made no attempt to mitigate the contact either by reducing his speed or by altering the way contact was made.

“There is a duty to play the game safely – simply continuing at such pace without any attempt to reduce that speed or to alter the method of contact by wrapping his arms or cushioning the contact gives rise to an obvious risk that there could be contact with the opponent who is in a vulnerable position having passed the ball.

“Accordingly, we consider this action to be reckless – and the challenge to the penalty notice is dismissed.

“The player will therefore be suspended for 1-match as outlined in the imposed Penalty Notice. The player will also be fined £500 and the club will forfeit the £500 bond that was lodged to bring the challenge.”

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