Bevan French, Harvie Hill and Kaide Ellis will all be free to feature in Wigan’s upcoming semi-final tie, despite receiving respective one-match suspensions by the Match Review Panel following Super League Round 27.
The League Leaders’ Shield winners will be able to count the club’s reserves Grand Final against St Helens towards the players’ suspensions, freeing them up for a fortnight’s time.
The loophole is allowed to be used as part of a suspension when the first team is not in action, with Wigan earning a bye and a home spot in the semi-finals following their 10-6 win over Leigh Leopards.
The outcome has caused some outcry on social media, but it isn’t the first time the loophole has been utilised in recent times.
Former Hull centre Josh Griffin served one week of his seven-game ban in reserves during the Challenge Cup semi-final weekend. It meant he only missed six Super League fixtures.
The 33-year-old, now at Wakefield, received the huge suspension against St Helens for questioning the integrity of match referee Chris Kendall.
He was initially going to use Hull’s reserves game against Castleford towards his ban on July 22, but made the move to Belle Vue beforehand. He was able to still serve one week of his suspension that same weekend as Wakefield reserves played Warrington.
Liam Hood and Huga Salabio
Scotland international Liam Hood managed to serve his one-match suspension during the same weekend in July. The Wakefield Trinity hooker had received a ban for Grade B dangerous contact in the 34-6 defeat to Huddersfield Giants.
Hugo Salabio also used the reserves game to count towards his lengthy suspension following a dangerous tackle on Leeds’ Richie Myler.
Castleford Tigers trio use international break
Castleford Tigers trio Kenny Edwards, Liam Watts and Bureta Faraimo did not miss a Super League game despite respective one-match bans.
All three were able to serve their suspensions for the reserves during the international break that saw England defeat France 64-0 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Prop Watts was charged with Grade B dangerous contact which earned him a yellow card against Hull KR. Fellow forward Edwards was cited for Grace C other contrary behaviour and winger Faraimo Grade B striking.
The Warrington Wolves forward served one week of his five-match ban for the reserves following his sending-off against Catalans for punching opposition winger Tom Johnstone.
Dudson, who missed last year’s World Cup with Wales due to a three-match ban for a headbutt, counted Warrington’s reserves fixture with Newcastle Thunder in May. He was able to return for the Challenge Cup sixth-round tie against Steve McNamara’s French outfit.