Five Super League players banned including St Helens forward but loophole to be exploited

Aaron Bower
Sione Mata'utia St Helens Alamy

St Helens' Sione Mata'utia

Five Super League players have been handed one-match bans following this weekend’s Super League fixtures – including St Helens prop Sione Mata’utia: however, the upcoming reserve fixtures this weekend will provide clubs with a loophole to ensure many of those players do not miss a competitive game.

Mata’utia has been handed a one-game suspension after a Grade B head contact charge following the Saints‘ defeat to Salford Red Devils on Sunday.

London’s Emanuel Waine, Huddersfield Giants’ Elliot Wallis plus Catalans duo Arthur Romano and Michael McIlorum have also been given one-game bans following charges in their respect fixtures in recent days.

However, the players at English-based clubs will not miss any Super League fixtures due to a round of reserves fixtures which takes place this weekend.

A loophole in the system enables clubs to name players in their squads for reserve fixtures, meaning the suspensions are accounted for during those contests rather than in competitive Super League fixtures.

It means that the likes of Mata’utia and Wallis will be freed to feature for their respective clubs by the time the league campaign restarts next weekend following the international break this weekend.

Mata’utia will, in all eventuality, serve his ban during Saints reserves’ fixture against Warrington Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

However, Catalans do not have a reserve game this weekend – so McIlorum and Romano will have to serve their bans in the Dragons’ next Super League game.

Leigh Leopards’ Lachlan Lam was also charged following their defeat to Leeds Rhinos on Friday with a Grade B Dangerous Contact – however, he was only fined £250 and escaped a suspension.

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