Saints chairman slams inconsistent officials

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus says the game is being undermined by inconsistent officiating and disciplinary.

Decisions have been hotly debated ever since Super League XX kicked off back in February, when referee James Child handed Widnes winger Patrick Ah Van a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Wigan’s Josh Charnley – still the only red card to be dished out in Super League this season.

McManus made the comments in a lengthy statement in response to the incident involving Travis Burns in their defeat at Hull KR on Friday night.

He said: “The Travis Burns incident and injury at Hull KR has frustrated me greatly and raises critical issues for the game which cannot be ignored or suppressed any longer. 

“In the immediate aftermath of the Grand Final, I did publicly state that the combined inconsistency of officiating on the pitch and the irreconcilability of disciplinary decisions off it had created an environment capable of exploitation, innocent or otherwise.”

McManus pointed out that his frustrations weren’t due to St Helens being mistreated in particular, though he used examples of bans handed out to Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor to emphasis his points.

He added: “An environment of confused rule application on the pitch, compounded by inconsistent disciplinary sanction off it, will inevitably lead to unnecessary serious player injury as well as a disillusioned fan base. In addition to obvious player welfare concerns there is, equally importantly, a consequent commercial ill effect for the entire game as well as for individual clubs.

“There is no point in making strong commercial progress, which the game recently has, if it is to be undermined by inconsistent officiating and disciplinary. The RFL and Super League have made great commercial progress in recent times, for which they are to be congratulated. However, this makes it all the more imperative that effective action is taken so as not to neutralise this.

“I can see no signs of progress since I raised what I considered to be a major alarm bell on this situation after last year’s Grand Final.”

Click to view Eamonn McManus’ full statement

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