Brian McDermott has voiced his dismay at Carl Ablett’s potential suspension for making contact with a match official.
The Leeds back-row could face a two-match suspension from the RFL after bumping into referee Chris Campbell during Leeds’ 20-14 victory over Salford.
McDermott claims that Ablett inadvertently collided with the official while tracking back following a Salford break down the field, and believes, if punished, Ablett would be hard done to.
“I’m not hopeful but I’m extremely disappointed with it,” he said.
“I said right from the off, I understand the objective of making referees contactless if that’s the right phrase, where you aren’t allowed to touch them at all.
“What would be a harmless tap on the shoulder to get the referee’s attention, if it’s not policed or stamped out could manifest into a shirt grab, which could manifest into an arm grab, so I get that.
“But Carl Ablett is tracking back after his team has just had a break conceded, and the referee is tracking back trying to referee the game. They’ve both bumped into each other and I’m extremely disappointed that this is a version of what you have to be aware of. There’s lots of things players have to be aware of, especially when he’s tracking back trying to defend a break against his team. What is an accident is now being brought up as a punishment by the sounds of it.”
McDermott is already facing the prospect of being without four key forwards for the match with Castleford on Thursday, with Mitch Garbutt, Stevie Ward and Jamie Jones-Buchanan all doubts after picking up injuries in the last week. Keith Galloway is also a long-term absentee.
“Mitch Garbutt tore a pec in training, which is a bit of a freak injury, so the likelihood of him being fit on Thursday is slim,” McDermott revealed.
“Stevie Ward pulled up from the game really sore with a hamstring, although not torn, so we’ll give that while the 11th hour. JJB has torn a ligament in his foot which is very sore. Those three are doubtful, then Carl Ablett is obviously up with a charge of making contact with the referee.”