Anderson adds voice to match review panel debate

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson is the latest high-profile figure to criticise the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) disciplinary panel, after Giants star Michael Lawrence was forced to sit out of last Saturday’s clash against the Catalan Dragons.

Lawrence, who had not been suspended in over 150 games for the Giants, got the ban after a tackle on Bradford’s James Donaldson was deemed to be illegal. Anderson called for all similar tackles to be now hit with the same punishment, claiming that he will then have no complaints.

Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has also criticised the match review panel in a lengthy statement released to the media this morning.

“It’s one of those things; the only thing I will now ask for is consistency, and that every tackle like Bruno’s should mean an automatic one-match suspension if that is the case,” Anderson claimed.

“If you look at Michael’s tackle in isolation and look at it frame by frame, you can make anything look dangerous. He did put him in a dangerous position, and that’s why we pleaded guilty, we couldn’t disagree with it. But we question the grading.

“All I want now is consistency, because the next tackle I see like that which isn’t brought forward in front of the tribunal I’ll be ringing them up and asking what is going on. As long as we’re going to penalise every tackle like that then I’ll be happy.”

Anderson also believes Lawrence’s excellent disciplinary record counted for nothing in the hearing, claiming that the grading of the incident gave him the impression the RFL wants more players banned.

“I said to the RFL that I hope he gives a few more penalties away, because he’s a bit nice. He’s a good clean player – he’s played over 150 games and no history of anything, but apparently that doesn’t count for anything. The grading just gives an impression that they want people banned.”

Anderson claims that the real disciplinary problem facing the game is a lack of protection for halfbacks and hookers, citing Shaun Lunt’s shoulder injury as an example last year, after he was hit by Wigan’s Epalahame Lauaki.

“There is a bigger problem regarding people knocking halves over after they’ve played the ball. If you’re going to hit ball players late with shoulder charges then you run a risk of being banned, and that is a bigger problem within the game in my eyes,” Anderson insisted.

“Shaun Lunt had to have a shoulder reconstruction because of what Epalahame Lauaki did to him last year, which went unpunished. That is the bigger problem.”

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