Rugby-League.com

Case Detail

Case Number:

ON/521/21

Scott Wheeldon #8, Sheffield

Competition:

Championship

Match:

Halifax v Sheffield

Match Date:

2021-06-06

Incident:

Late hit on passer in the 71st minute

Decision:

Charge

Charge Detail:

Law 15.1 (i)
Dangerous Contact - A defending player makes contact with an opponent after the ball has been released by an opponent in a vulnerable position which causes excessive flexion to the head, neck or spinal column on an attacking player, which poses an unacceptable risk of injury to that player.
Grade D

Fine:

£250

Sanctions:

3-5

Decision On Charge

Player plea:

Guilty, but challenged the grading

Summary of CM's submissions on the Charge / evidence:

Following a Match Review Panel meeting held on 10th June 2021, you are charged with misconduct for a breach of Law 15.1(i) during the above Match.

The Panel reviewed an incident which occurred in approximately the 71st minute of the above Match. You were dismissed following the incident. In the Panel’s opinion you made late contact with your opponent which caused excessive flexion to the opponents neck/head area. The Panel believed that your actions were unnecessary and had the potential to cause your opponent serious injury.

In accordance with the RFL’s On Field Sentencing Guidelines, the Panel consider that such offence is a Grade D offence - Dangerous Contact - A defending player makes contact with an opponent after the ball has been released by an opponent in a vulnerable position which causes excessive flexion to the head, neck, or spinal column on an attacking player, which poses an unacceptable risk of injury to that player.. The normal suspension range for such offence is from 3 to 5 matches.

Summary of Player's submissions on the Charge / evidence:

SW in attendance and pleaded guilty but challenged the grading of the charge at Grade D.

SW explained that he was trying to put pressure on his opponent but admitted that the tackle was late.

He explained he thought the grading was harsh and he was not the type of player who would try an injure an opponent. He agreed the tackle was unacceptable but informed the panel that he had less than a second to decide whether the could make the tackle or not.

Decision:

Guilty plea

Decision On Sanction (where found to have committed Misconduct)

Summary of CM's submissions on the appropriate sanction:


• Incident occurs in the 71st minute of the match
• Player is dismissed following the incident
• Player approaches opponent following a pass
• Player has an unobstructed view of opponent and the ball
• Player steps into contact following a pass
• Player does not makes reasonable adaptations after the opponent has released the ball indeed the Match Review Panel submit speeds up
• Player makes contact as opponent is in a relaxed, unsighted, vulnerable position
• Player demonstrates no attempt to tackle opponent
• Player approaches at speed generating high force to the contact
• Tucks arm to increase force
• Opponent’s body demonstrates whiplash action
• Opponent lands forcefully
• Grade D due to:
- Highly reckless contact as player sees the ball is offloaded and still proceeds into contact
- High force
- Unnecessary contact
- Involves an unacceptable risk of injury to opponent
- Lack of duty of care demonstrated towards opponent

Reasons for Decision:

The Tribunal thanked both sides for the submissions. Having watched the footage they are in agreement that the tackle was indeed late and was done at speed. It was completely unnecessary.

The find the grading at Grade D to be correct but note the player has pleaded guilty and also does not have a significant previous record.

However, the tackle did pose a risk of injury and players have a duty of care to each other whilst on the field. It was also noted that clubs have been warned previously about the dangers of these types of tackle.

The Tribunal therefore feel a suspension of 3 matches and a £250 fine are appropriate.

Suspension:

3 matches