IT was arguably the biggest talking point during the 2022 Super League season: the disciplinary system.
During the early period of the 2022 season, there was a spate of yellow and red cards as well as numerous bans as foul play and dangerous shots were clamped down on.
Things improved as the season wore on and players began adapting their style, but heading into the 2023 season, there has been a change in direction by the Rugby Football League (RFL) and the Disciplinary Match Review Panel.
Instead of Grade A and Grade B charges being given as instant bans, a fine can now be issued instead.
And following the latest round of pre-season warm-up games, this new direction was plain to see.
The Match Review Panel issued the following sanctions:
David Gibbons (North Wales Crusaders) – Grade B Other Contrary Behaviour – £40 fine
In doing so, Gibbons will not have to face a ban but the halfback will have to fork out £40 for the charge of Other Contrary Behaviour.
Castleford Tigers head coach Lee Radford, in his press conference this week, called the move away from bans to fines ‘smart’ in a bid to reduce the strain on players. “Definitely, I think it’s a smart decision. As a competition the amount of games we are playing is really high when you look at compared to the NRL,” Radford said.
“The strain and test we put on our players is already challenging enough to have three or four missing every round through suspension makes it even more difficult.
“The supporters, as much as they want to see younger payers coming through, they want to see them playing because of their attitudes and talents not because they have to play and unfortunately that wasn’t the case towards the back end of last year.”