RFL responds after being accused of gender bias over star’s ban

Rhiannion Marshall tackles Leeds' Zoe Hornby
Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com

The RFL says it is reviewing discrepancies in its disciplinary process after Women’s Super League star Rhiannion Marshall accused it of gender bias.

York forward Marshall was handed a four-match ban last month after being found guilty of punching in a win over Leeds.

The ban rules her out until York’s final regular season game against Leeds on August 25.

And she blasted the governing body in response to the decision to ban Halifax’s Greg Worthington for three games, after he was sent off for punching in their televised Championship game at Barrow.

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“Absolutely ridiculous”

Marshall wrote on social media: “Is this just me being stupid or is this absolutely ridiculous? A male player gets three match ban for punching… then watch my video and I get more matches than the Halifax player.

“The RFL have it in for me. I begged for them to go easy on me as the women’s game have nowhere near as many games as the men. And if I got a high end ban I wouldn’t have much left of the season. This ban leaves me with three matches left to play.

“I’ve held my own in the past because I was so scared of my position in the England squad. Well I’m no longer in the squad so here it is. My opinion on the RFL. They don’t like me and never have because I’m an aggressive player and also speak out for what I believe in. Probably the reason I’ve never been asked to go back into the England squad.

“Thanks for nothing and thanks for making my time playing ‘professional’ rugby league hell.”

Rhiannion Marshall also wrote a similar themed post on Twitter, including the hashtags #equalopportunities and #genderbias.

She also alleged that in 2019 after a previous incident, she was told by the panel that they would make an example out of her due to the growth of the women’s game.

Love Rugby League approached the RFL with the comments, and they say the length of bans will be reviewed moving forward.

An RFL spokesperson said: “Since the 2021 season, disciplinary cases in the Betfred Women’s Super League have been subject to the same process as the men’s Betfred Championship and League One competitions; with cases considered by the Match Review Panel on Thursdays and specific cases sent to the independent Operational Rules Tribunal the following Tuesday.

“We do recognise this provides an issue in terms of the proportionality of suspensions; as both BWSL and League One have significantly fewer fixtures than the Betfred Super League or the Championship – this will be reviewed before the 2023 season.

“Players’ past record is a factor in the length of suspensions determined by the independent Operational Rules Tribunal.

“Rhiannion’s comments regarding England selection and other matters are disappointing, and have no basis in fact.”

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About James Gordon 7110 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.


  1. The barrow incident I watched was caused by makloudi he stuck his big head into the guys brain with pressure the kid was right to bang him mr ganson again tosser

  2. This whole match review business is a farce. Another Aussie rule we and the game don’t need.
    If the referees haven’t got the cohones to referee the game and punish foul play on the pitch, when it happens, then they shouldn’t be a referee.
    Ganson et al had their day. They were proved to be even worse than what we have now, so why are they allowed to hang on?
    Most of these bans for so called punching are stupid. Couldn’t see any blood, couldn’t see much contact. It’s just handbags.
    In the properly played game, the real tlref would have looked at the linesman, awarded a penalty and told em all to get on with it.
    Stop killing the game. Sure, cut out the real foul play like high tackles etc. but for god’s sake, stop trying to kill the passion.

  3. its not just the womens game, the amateur game seems to be also held to a higher standard that the professional game.

    bizzarely, it has been claimed in the past because the youngsters use open age players from their club as role models.

    not sure that bob who plays in the second team for a laugh with his mates, is a bigger role model to the kids than say Kevin sinfield

  4. I support the need for equality in these decisions 100%. Following that logic on, I wonder if a male player would get a ban for tweeting that the RFL are an “Absolute joke”.

    • She’s not wrong though the RFL are an absolute joke at the moment. So many fans are disillusioned and turning away from the game and it’s mainly down to some ridiculous descisions and poor refereeing.

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