Hull FC coach Lee Radford has spoken out about the well-publicised decision to suspend Frank Pritchard for one match – saying that once he knew the disciplinary hearing would be held by the RFL, he anticipated the big forward getting a ban.
Pritchard will miss Friday’s trip to Wigan after receiving a one-match ban for a high tackle during Tonga’s match against Samoa last weekend, when he was involved in an incident with former Catalans winger Michael Oldfield.
And Radford told TotalRL that once he learned the hearing would be heard in this country, he knew what was coming – joining the growing number of people within the game calling for consistency from the disciplinary process.
“As soon as I knew it was coming to the disciplinary process over here I expected that outcome,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of consistency. It doesn’t benefit suspending people in an international game – and I’d have liked to have thought they’d have gone down the same route with Frank as they did with an incident with Solomone Kata, but it wasn’t to be.”
Radford pointed to a flashpoint in the game with New Zealand Warriors centre Kata in his defence of Pritchard, before again reiterating that he expected a ban for his powerhouse forward when the tribunal was to be held in this country.
“When I watched the game back, I saw an incident with the Warriors centre, Kata, who launches a knee at someone’s head on the floor and a melee starts straight after.
“He got penalised and that’s the end of it – so you can do that in an aggressive fashion and get off with it, or you can hit someone head high and cop a game. Again though, I knew what the outcome would be when I discovered where the disciplinary process was being held.”
With Pritchard banned, Radford confirmed he will make only a small number of changes for the trip to the DW Stadium on Friday – but he did reveal that winger Curtis Naughton is struggling with an injury.
“It’ll be tough to leave someone out after last weekend,” Radford said.
“Sika comes into contention and whilst we could have brought Carlos back, the need to risk him is not there. We’ll give him another week, but Curtis picked up a knock in the Saints game so whether we go with him or Steve Michaels, we’ll have to wait and see.”