St Helens’ Morgan Knowles to play in Super League Grand Final | Explained: Why suspension overturned | Rugby League News

St Helens’ Morgan Knowles initially lost his appeal against a two-match suspension, but has won the second appeal; reigning champions will face Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford on Saturday, September 24 live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 22/09/22 1:22pm

Morgan Knowles will play in Saturday's Grand Final after winning the second appeal against suspension for this arm twist

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Morgan Knowles will play in Saturday’s Grand Final after winning the second appeal against suspension for this arm twist

Morgan Knowles will play in Saturday’s Grand Final after winning the second appeal against suspension for this arm twist

St Helens’ Morgan Knowles will play in Saturday’s Grand Final after the club won a second appeal against the two-match suspension he received after their semi-final.

Knowles was sin-binned during Saints’ 19-12 semi-final win over Salford for twisting the arm of Chris Atkin, and his conduct was deemed to be Grade B Dangerous Contact with an opponent.

On Tuesday, the independent tribunal upheld the Match Review Panel’s decision and also imposed a £500 fine, citing that although Knowles did not move Atkin’s arm “beyond the normal range of movement”, he did cause an unacceptable risk of injury.

It was these two points St Helens then used to launch their second appeal.

St Helens, led by their CEO Mike Rush, then argued that if it is accepted that Atkin’s arm did not go beyond the “normal range of movement” and Knowles was committing a professional foul then he could not have posed an unacceptable risk of injury, calling the statements incompatible with one another.

It was this argument which was upheld and agreed with by a panel made up of Roger Thomas QC DL with Danny Sculthorpe and Wilf George.

George is a current referee who played for Huddersfield, Batley, Widnes and Halifax whilst Sculthorpe played for Rochdale, Wigan, Castleford, Wakefield and Huddersfield.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, the RFL said: “After Tuesday’s independent tribunal rejected his first appeal, St Helens launched a second appeal claiming that the tribunal’s conclusion was ‘unreasonable’ based on the evidence presented.

“Tonight’s tribunal accepted that while there was some twisting to apply pressure to the limb of an opposing player, this did not exceed the normal range of movement and therefore could not have posed an ‘unacceptable risk of injury’.”

The outcome is a natural boost for the reigning champions as they seek an unprecedented fourth successive Grand Final victory.

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It will also be welcomed by England coach Shaun Wane, who looks certain to include the former Welsh international in his 24-man squad for the World Cup.

McDermott: Fans just want consistency

Sky Sports' Barrie McDermott was surprised by the decision to overturn Morgan Knowles' two-match ban, and has called for more consistency in the game

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Sky Sports’ Barrie McDermott was surprised by the decision to overturn Morgan Knowles’ two-match ban, and has called for more consistency in the game

Sky Sports’ Barrie McDermott was surprised by the decision to overturn Morgan Knowles’ two-match ban, and has called for more consistency in the game

Reaction to the overturning of the ban has been intense, with many fans calling into question the RFL’s disciplinary process after a season that has seen heavy bans and “frivolous” appeals being penalised.

For Sky Sports’ Brian McDermott, it has caused such upset with fans because of a “lack of consistency” with the disciplinary process across the season as a whole.

“Morgan Knowles is a magnificent player and in many ways I am pleased he is going to be part of the big dance, the Grand Final at Old Trafford,” Mcdermott told Sky Sports.

“But what everybody screams out for is the consistency, where is the one rule for one and one rule for another.

“So, it is a bit of a shame really because we have got a magnificent game in store with St Helens who are looking to do the Grand Final victory for a record fourth time and Leeds Rhinos who have come from absolutely nowhere.

“So, a lot of controversy this week and unfortunately it is everybody around the game who is taking the headlines away from those 34 players who will take part in the game on Saturday evening.

“In my opinion that is a two -match ban, everyone was sort of satisfied.

“It has a knock on effect for England in the World Cup but regardless, everyone was satisfied.

“I think the disciplinary needs to be completely scrapped, overhauled, we wipe the slate clean and we find something everyone is happy with because I don’t think anyone outside of St Helens will be happy with this.”

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