Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson has bemoaned the decision to send off Joe Greenwood midway through the first half in yesterday’s defeat to St Helens, saying players need more protection from officials.
Carrying the ball, the Giants forward was dismissed for ‘leading with the elbow’ in the 27th minute, less than 60 seconds after coming on as an interchange. The elbow noted however didn’t appear to be in the tackle, but afterwards.
Greenwood appeared to react to a high shot from Saints prop Matty Lees, with the replays also suggesting a punch could have been thrown by Lees’ teammate Morgan Knowles.
The Huddersfield man was the only one to be shown a card by referee Ben Thaler, which angered his boss who spoke following a 32-18 defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Ian Watson feels let down by officials after Joe Greenwood red card
Watson said: “I’m not sure who it was who has gone straight through and shoulders the face of Joe Greenwood, but he’s then pushed out and I think he has caught him [Lees] with the elbow, but it’s not a malicious one.
“He’s been sent off when really, we should have had a penalty. For me, Joe Greenwood has been directly hit in the face.
“We had Joe directly hit in the face at Magic Weekend (also against St Helens), we never got any penalties, he got concussed and then in this game he’s been sent off because he’s lashed out.
“You talk about players feeling protected, that’s not protecting players when they’re getting hit straight in the face and they’re the ones getting concussed on the back of it.”
Paul Wellens unhappy with Saints’ performance post-red card
In the other camp, Saints moved into a third-place spot on the Super League table with the two points earned from their game in hand.
Those points didn’t come easy though. Leading 20-6 when Greenwood was sent off by Thaler, Saints took their foot off the gas and allowed their 12-men opponents back into the game, coming to within two points.
Eventually, Lewis Dodd’s try in the 75th minute brought an end to any lingering nerves, and Jack Welsby made absolutely sure of the win just before the final hooter.
Boss Wellens though wasn’t impressed, saying: “It’s probably going to sound a bit peculiar, but I think the worst thing that happened to us in that game was Joe Greenwood getting sent off.
“I spoke to the players about it, I think we expected things from that point on to come easy. As I’ve seen so many times, 12 men can galvanise. They work harder for each other and find something a bit different, and I thought Huddersfield did that to their credit today. We didn’t respond well enough in that situation.
“I never sat there and felt comfortable in the game as I didn’t like the way we dropped our standards. The players have come in straight off the field and they know. In some respect, that’s a real positive, but we’re going to have to do something about it.”