St Helens fail in second appeal against Matty Lees ban; two-match suspension remains

Ben Olawumi
Matty Lees St Helens Alamy

Matty Lees in action for St Helens in 2023

Matty Lees will remain banned for two games after St Helens were unsuccessful in their second appeal against the prop’s Grade C charge.

The 25-year-old was hit with his ban on Monday evening, charged with a high hit on Huddersfield Giants’ Joe Greenwood during the two side’s clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium the day prior.

At the time, the Giants man – who was carrying the ball – was the man sent off by referee Ben Thaler while Lees escaped without punishment.

The Match Review Panel though decided the fate of the Saints forward in the aftermath, first rejecting an initial appeal, and they’ve now done the same to a second.

St Helens fail in second appeal against Matty Lees ban

The decision of the second appeal was confirmed shortly after 6pm this evening by the RFL.

A short statement on their website read: ‘After St Helens appealed the decision of the independent Operational Rules Tribunal on August 15, that Matty Lees should be suspended for two matches and fined £500 for a Grade C high tackle in the Betfred Super League fixture against Huddersfield Giants, a new three-person On-Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal was convened.

The appeal was rejected, so the punishment stands.’

Lees replaced in Saints squad for Hull KR visit

Last year, Saints were successful with a second appeal against a suspension for Morgan Knowles, meaning he was free to play in their Grand Final triumph over Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford.

That decision was a controversial one, and sparked mass debate amongst the rugby league world, most of which airing on the side that the outcome was the wrong one.

This time around, having been unsuccessful twice over, England international Lees will now miss games against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers.

Saints themselves issued a short statement via their own website, confirming that the Rochdale-born ace had been replaced in Paul Wellens’ squad for KR’s visit to the Totally Wicked Stadium.

It read: ‘Following an unsuccessful appeal by the Saints against the decision made by the Operational Rules Tribunal, Matty Lees’ two-match ban and £500 fine has been upheld.

Wesley Bruines completes the Saints’ 21-man squad to face Hull KR on Friday.’

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