Why Wigan Warrior’s Liam Farrell didn’t get charged for ‘needless slap’ on Zak Hardaker

Saturday saw two brilliant and dominant performances from Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors, with the sides that that currently sit first and second in the table respectively defeating Salford Red Devils and Leigh Leopards in big victories.

The Dragons won 42-0 in Perpignan against Salford but for Wigan it was a little bit harder work as they ran out 44-18 winners at the DW Stadium in the ‘Battle of the Borough’ against the Leopards.

It wasn’t all plain sailing as they went behind initially and until just minutes before the half they were set to get in all tied up at six points a piece.

A quickfire pair of Abbas Miski grubber kick assists saw Toby King and Bevan French score which stretched the lead to 16-6.

An earlier incident though that had allowed Leigh to get on top came when Wigan skipper Liam Farrell slapped Zak Hardaker as the former Wigan centre stood up to play the ball.

It prompted co-commentator Kyle Amor to critique Farrell labelling the slap “needless”.

On the resulting Amone try, Amor said: “It all comes from the penalty. It’s really needless from Liam Farrell and it has ended up costing his team a try.

Amor continued: “I really like Liam Farrell but there is no need for that. He’s better than that. That’s a real out-of-character moment.”

Whilst the incident was penalised it didn’t see Farrell sent to the sin bin which might have prompted a nervy wait for him ahead of today’s disciplinary meeting, however the skipper has got away without being charged but he was cited.

The minutes from the Match Review Panel meeting reveal why he wasn’t charged, as they state the following.

“Striking: Player pushes out at opponent on the head after opponent pushes out at player when standing up in a tackle.”

The fact that the MRP refer to the incident as a push rather than a slap is a surprising one but the lack of any charge means that Farrell will be able to captain his Wigan side against Hull KR on Friday night, as the Warriors aim to avenge their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat.