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Wigan Warriors fans fume as Brad O’Neill is banned for “textbook tackle”

Brad O'Neill WIgan Warriors

Wigan Warriors fans have been left clutching at straws as they try to work out why England international hooker Brad O’Neill has been banned ahead of the derby on Friday against St Helens.

It’s a decision that has caused confusion and uproar among Wigan fans with the club now set to be without a single recognised hooker in their squad for the derby against St Helens.

Both Kruise Leeming and Tom Forber are carrying injuries putting Matt Peet’s side in a huge predicament, something St Helens will be in too due to Daryl Clark’s injury and Moses Mbye’s ban. However, St Helens will appeal the ban but it’s been confirmed that Wigan will not.

That was reported by Wigan Today’Josh McAllister who revealed that Matt Peet had confirmed the club would not challenge the suspension handed to Brad O’Neill, a decision that has sparked almost as much outrage and confusion as the Match Review Panel’s decision to ban the 21-year-old.

Brad O’Neill was sin-binned for tipping Robbie Mulhern with the tackle resulting in a Grade B charge for a ‘Dangerous Throw/Lift’, much to the disgust of Wigan fans.

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Sam Halsall at Wigan Warriors, before joining Huddersfield Giants.

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Brad O’Neill ban labelled as “embarrassing”

Daryl Clark Brad O'Neill St Helens Wigan Warriors

Credit: Imago Images

After the Match Review Panel Minutes confirmed the ban and revealed when exactly the incident took place in the game, footage of the purported offence was quickly posted on social media.

Fan reaction to it has seen it labelled as a “textbook tackle” whilst another Wigan Warriors fan argued that the club should appeal it, claiming Brad O’Neill “dumped him on his back” in reference to Leigh’s Mulhern.

One fan would even claim that it was the RFL’s way of ‘evening out’ the teams with St Helens having missed nine players last week, something Paul Wellens noted after his side lost 8-6 to Castleford Tigers.

A fan joked: ” “Let’s give Saints a chance because they’ve got half a squad” charge in full effect”, as they showed disdain for the ban.

There was arguably more disdain for the club’s decision not to appeal against the ban but one fan hypothesised why, arguing that it was part of a longer ploy.

Despite going on to label the ban for Brad O’Neill as “embarrassing”, a Wigan fan posited: “I’m starting to think we’re not appealing any bans as when it comes to the playoffs, we’ll appeal any small bans, and they’ll be overturned as we’ve complied with the MRP all season.

“It’s the only reason I can think of, as that ban for O’Neill is embarrassing.”

Only Matt Peet will know why that decision was made but another joked it was because he had an ace card up his sleeve, claiming to have seen assistant coach Tommy Leuluai “looking at boots in Sports Direct”.

With both teams potentially without a recognised hooker, it’s set to be an interesting affair with St Helens one of just two teams to beat Wigan Warriors so far this season, something the reigning champions will be desperate to avenge.

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