Why St Helens star dodged lengthy ban despite causing injury as club stand firm on key issue

Matty Lees was sent to the Operational Rules Tribunal following the Match Review Panel’s verdict on Monday and found out his fate on Tuesday receiving a two match ban.

It came after a fiery affair between St Helens and Salford Red Devils which was one of a number of games that featured heavily in the disciplinary.

A huge 16 players charged by the disciplinary panel.

Among those 16 players was Leeds, as well as his teammate Curtis Sironen.

Lees of the Saints has been sent to tribunal for striking.

According to the Match Review Panel minutes the incident was for a strike with an elbow or forearm off the ball which has been branded as reckless.

The tribunal will be heard tomorrow.

“Strikes – Strikes with elbow/forearm – off ball – reckless.”

The RFL have announced tonight that Lees pleaded guilty to the charge and therefore has been hit with a two game ban.

St Helens released their own statement.

“Lees pled guilty to the Grade D charge of a reckless, off the ball strike on a Salford Red Devils opponent during the first half of Saturday’s Betfred Super League fixture.

“As a result of the suspension Lees will therefore be unavailable for the Saints’ fixtures against Halifax Panthers in the Betfred Challenge Cup this Friday night, and next Friday night’s away Super League fixture against Leeds Rhinos.”

The tribunal was considering a longer ban for Lees which is why the penalty notice for a Grade D offence was removed.

However, the club stood firm on the issue that you cannot award lengthier bans for every injury especially when no medical evidence is provided.

This was what allowed Lees to dodge a longer ban because of the injury as revealed by the RFL’s notes on the appeal:

“The club sited two examples in recent years where they have had players suffer an injury of six months or more due to foul play and at no stage did the penalty notice get removed or was there even a charge.

“The club feel that penalty notices can’t be removed for every injury and in the information provided by the opposing club on the injury there is not enough evidence to do so.

“On the current information, the Club note that they cannot challenge the information provided as no medical practitioner is available to give evidence about questions they have in relation to the incident.”

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