Rugby Football League hit Super League coach with massive fine alongside three players and another chief

Ben Olawumi
Paul Rowley Salford Red Devils Alamy

Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley in a press conference - Alamy

Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley has been hit with a whopping £4000 fine, with four others in Super League also charged for their criticism of match officials earlier this year.

Rowley’s outburst against referee Jack Smith following Salford’s 18-15 defeat to St Helens back in August is what’s earned him the sanction.

The Red Devils chief said the Round 21 clash had been ‘decided by the officiating’, labelled official Smith a ‘disgrace’ and said he feared the game would lose fans because of ‘weak’ decisions.

Leigh-born boss Rowley will though only have to pay £1500 of his fine, with the remaining £2500 suspended until the end of the 2024 season. Essentially, any further comments on officials deemed unacceptable by the RFL, like those above, would see him have to cough the rest up and then likely some more.

He’s not the only one to have had his wrists slapped by the sport’s governing body, with fellow Super League head coach Ian Watson and three players also fined.

Paul Rowley hit with massive fine by Rugby Football League alongside Ian Watson

Huddersfield Giants boss Watson has been charged £500, all of which suspended until the end of next term – for his comments made after – coincidentally – a defeat to St Helens.

Referee Ben Thaler sent Joe Greenwood off midway through the first half for his reaction to a Matty Lees tackle. Giants ace Greenwood had no further action taken against him, while Lees – the culprit on review – was hit with a ban.

Watson saying he felt ‘let down’ by the officials after that defeat was enough to earn him a fine however.

Three Super League players also fined

The three players fined are Wakefield Trinity’s Luke Gale, Leeds Rhinos’ Sam Lisone and Hull FC’s Jake Trueman, all three picked up for comments made on social media.

Charged with breaching operational rules ‘D1:1 (b) – Improper Conduct’, and ‘C2.10 – Behaviour Standards’, the trio have all had to pay £250, with the other half of their £500 fines suspended until the end of the 2024 season.

The RFL’s statement this evening also confirmed that letters had been sent to the players in question to explain the decision to hit them with fines, saying: “Please be aware that your position in the game as a Super League player clearly gives you significant standing within the sport and you should be more considered when discussing such matters.”

It’s a third blow in two days for veteran Gale, who yesterday had a one-match penalty notice put on him by the Match Review Panel following Round 27 in Super League, as well as a £250 fine for a Grade A Dangerous Contact charge. An expensive few days for the former Man of Steel.

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