Castleford Tigers hold urgent meeting with RFL as Craig Lingard addresses disciplinary controversy

Ben Olawumi
Craig Lingard

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard

Castleford Tigers will meet with RFL chief Robert Hicks later today following the disciplinary controversy which saw Liam Watts banned for four games.

It was only ever going to be this way, but after an opening weekend of Super League which saw attendance records broken and every game shown live for the very first time, the most talked about news has been the disciplinary actions.

13 cards were shown across five games, with none in St Helens’ win over newly-promoted London Broncos.

One of the cards, a red, was brandished to Tigers forward Liam Watts in the first half of their clash with Wigan Warriors on Saturday night after contact with Tyler Dupree’s head in a tackle.

Watts failed in an appeal to downgrade his charge at a tribunal and remains suspended for the next four matches.

As soon as the Match Review Panel’s decisions went live on Monday evening, Cas responded by saying they had requested a meeting with the RFL’s chiefs, and that meeting will take place today.

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Castleford Tigers hold urgent meeting with RFL as Craig Lingard addresses disciplinary controversy

Tigers head coach Craig Lingard addressed the situation in his pre-match press conference this morning ahead of their trip to Salford Red Devils on Sunday.

He told Love Rugby League: “I’m not against the changes that are coming in, it’s all to protect the players.

“Myself at Castleford, every other head coach and every player in Super League will have done more work on their tackle technique under fatigued conditions, non-fatigued or stress conditions, than they’ve ever done before.

“It’s not like anybody at Castleford, or anyone at any other rugby league club for that matter, is avoiding this or fighting against it.

“We want this sport to be as safe as possible. Everybody’s got their own opinions about whether it’s the right way to move or not, but we certainly believe it is and we’re 100% committed to that.

“I just think that there’s areas that are there for re-assessment and re-evaluation. I think this was one of them, and hopefully we can have these conversations.

“We’ve got a meeting with Robert Hicks after this press conference as well to go through some of the issues and some of the talking points.

“Rob’s really open with his lines of communication, so hopefully we can have that dialogue with him and get a better understanding about where some of the grey areas are and where some of them are from our end specifically.”

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‘Everybody’s got an opinion, and it’s up to each individual to be open with that’: Lingard responds to Shaun Wane’s comments

Yesterday, England boss Shaun Wane weighed in on the debate surrounding Watts’ red card against Wigan Warriors, the club he remains the Leadership and Management Director for.

Appearing on Sky Sports’ ‘The Verdict’ with Jenna Brooks, he was asked whether he understood the disgruntlement of those within the Castleford camp at the decision, and responded: “No. Not one bit.

“We had Paul Cullen in here (Robin Park, Wigan’s training base) with all our players and staff with hours going through every minute detail, which I’m assured every club did.

“It was offered to every club and we know you can’t make contact with the heads and shoulders without wrapping your arm around. I don’t understand where Craig is coming from.”

Lingard this morning remained unfazed by those words from Wane, as he added: “I’ve got no complaints with any comments that have been made, either positively or negatively, against that incident this week and about my comments or reaction.

“Everybody’s got an opinion, and it’s up to each individual to be open with that.”

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