“A bit of a joke” – Craig Lingard on Leeds Rhinos star’s ban and what has been “blown out of proportion” at Castleford Tigers

CASTLEFORD TIGERS head coach Craig Lingard has admitted that the Grade B Dangerous Contact charge handed to Leeds Rhinos captain Cameron Smith in the aftermath of his side’s 26-6 loss to Rohan Smith’s men was “a bit of a joke”.

A video of Smith circulated on social media which showed the Leeds skipper pushing Castleford’s Danny Richardson in the back after the latter had kicked forward.

Smith was subsequently handed the Grade B charge before Leeds went before an Operational Rules Tribunal to appeal the one-match penalty notice.

The Rhinos’ appeal was successful, and Lingard was happy to see that result.

“It was a bit of a joke he got banned in the first place,” Lingard said. “That, for me, if we ban people for that then we need to have a look at it.

“There was no malice, intent and no force. If you look at that and we are sitting people down for that and we need to give our heads a shake.”

Lingard also gave his verdict on Justin Sangare’s one-match ban following a head contact charge on Joe Westerman.

“It’s head-on-head contact, it’s the new interpretation of the law and that’s something we have to get used to.

“We were told about it in week one and if that happened in round one, he probably gets a red card with an overraction.

“I had non issues with that whatsoever, common sense prevailed.”

Lingard also drew attention to Liam Watts’ improvement regarding tackle height after serving a four-match ban from round one.

“We have worked a lot on the new tackle height and technique. It blew out of all proportion about us not adapting to the new rules in round with Wattsy, but we did as much as we possibly could have to get to grips with the new interpreations.

“We have had one suspension and Wattsy has worked as hard as anybody else. As soon as he gets a charge he would be sat down. He’s worked really hard on the time off he had with lowering his tackle technique.

“With the new interpretation, the rFL should have cleared everybody’s record but they can’t do that and Wattsy will still have the issue with his past record.

“Any charge he gets, he will get the higher end of the grade so he has to make sure he is squeaky clean in everything he does.”

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