Morgan Knowles tackle ‘unnecessary’ as no appeals confirmed

James Gordon
Morgan Knowles, PA Images

The RFL has confirmed that no appeals have been received to this week’s disciplinary charges, which include a two-match ban for St Helens forward Morgan Knowles.

Knowles, 26, was playing in his first game back having served a five-match ban for a so-called hip-drop tackle on Mike Cooper in the Good Friday derby against Wigan.

He will now be sat on the sidelines until the home game against the Warriors on June 9. Knowles will sit out this Friday’s trip to Leeds plus the Magic Weekend clash with Huddersfield.

The Cumbrian forward was sent off in the dying stages of St Helens’ 26-6 Challenge Cup win over Halifax on Friday night, which was broadcast live on Viaplay.

Knowles caught Tom Inman high, and after conversing with both touch judges, referee Aaron Moore showed the red card.

The Match Review Panel described the high tackle as reckless, noting that he ‘tried to tackle but reckless about outcome.’

The incident will have been particularly frustrating for St Helens coach Paul Wellens and their fans, as it came so late in a game that was already won.

St Helens Star reporter Mike Critchley said: “Mitigation will have come in the fact that Inman dipped immediately prior to contact and had he not Knowles would have flattened him completely legitimately.

“But the way in which the Saints packman had raced and chased, at pace, into the collision meant that he was not in control of the outcome and it was an accident waiting to happen.

“On the face of it the challenge was so unnecessary given the game was won and there was barely 30 seconds left on the clock.”

Discipline has been a problem

Knowles is no stranger to controversy, having had a suspension overturned in the week before St Helens’ latest Grand Final victory over Leeds.

But since then, he has now been banned for a total of nine matches and has only played 12 in that time. No further action was at least stated for a separate incident involving Knowles had been cited for alleged late contact on the kicker.

Wellens said post match: “It takes the gloss off because discipline has been a problem for us and we need to fix it up.

“Obviously the decision has been made and we have to accept that now but I was probably very happy until around 78 minutes.

“Things like that happen in sport but we’ve got certain players within our group who kind of need to have a look at the way they approach certain situations.”

St Helens have at least been boosted ahead of the trip to Leeds with the news that scrum-half Jonny Lomax will be available.

Lomax left the field against the Panthers for a head injury assessment, but he passed, and so will not have to sit out as per concussion protocol.

There were two other Super League players banned this week. Warrington’s Josh Drinkwater will miss their trip to his former club Leigh, while Rhys Kennedy sits out Hull KR’s home game with Wigan on Thursday.

MORE: Morgan Knowles receives suspension following Challenge Cup red card