St Helens without suspended James Bell for Wigan Warriors derby after unsuccessful appeal

Drew Darbyshire
James Bell St Helens Alamy

James Bell in action for St Helens

St Helens will be without key forward James Bell for their Good Friday derby against Wigan Warriors following an unsuccessful appeal against his one-match ban.

On Monday afternoon, Bell received a one-match penalty notice from the Rugby Football League’s match review panel for a Grade B dangerous contact charge following last Friday’s 20-6 win over Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup sixth round.

The Saints decided to appeal the charge handed to Bell at an independent operational rules tribunal on Tuesday evening – but his charge was upheld, meaning he will miss their derby clash against Wigan on Good Friday, with the club also losing their £500 bond.

It comes as a huge blow to St Helens and Bell, who has played in all six of their matches so far in 2024.

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Elsewhere, Leigh Leopards were successful in their challenge against a Grade A charge issued to captain John Asiata following their 12-4 defeat at St Helens in Round 3 of Super League. Asiata was found not guilty, with the charge now being removed from the player’s disciplinary record.

The ORT also considered two Grade E charges from the opening round of Championship fixtures on March 17, which were automatically referred because of their grading.

York Knights half-back Nikau Williams has been suspended for four matches after being found guilty of a Grade A charge in their 36-20 defeat at Doncaster, with a £375 fine.

Meanwhile, Brad Walker of Barrow Raiders successfully challenged a Grade E charge of questioning the integrity of a match official during their 44-8 defeat at Widnes Vikings. The former England Academy international was found guilty of disputing other decisions which carried a Grade B charge, and a £250 fine. He will not serve a suspension due to his guilty plea and previous clean record.

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