Match Review Panel hit Matt Prior with ban for late hit

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Leeds Rhinos prop Matt Prior has been charged with a two-match penalty notice for a ‘Grade B Late Hit on Kicker’.

The RFL’s Match Review Panel cited the Australian for the illegal tackle on Danny Richardson which took place in the first-half of Saturday’s victory over Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend.

Prior was not penalised for the incident during the match by referee Ben Thaler, but the disciplinary panel have taken action meaning he will now miss the Rhinos next two matches against Toulouse and Wigan.

From the same game, Liam Watts has been handed a two-match ban for his high tackle which was also classed as a Grade B offence.

All Super League charges:

Connor Wynne (Hull FC) – Grade B Late Hit on Passer – 1 Match Penalty Notice
Dean Hadley (Hull KR) – Grade B Late Hit on Kicker – 1 Match Penalty Notice
Brad Fash (Hull FC) – Grade A Dangerous Contact – 0 Match Penalty Notice
George Williams (Warrington) – Grade A Late Hit on Passer – 0 Match Penalty Notice
Matt Prior (Leeds) – Grade B Late Hit on Kicker – 2 Match Penalty Notice
Liam Watts (Castleford) – Grade B High Tackle – 2 Match Penalty Notice
Rob Butler (Wakefield) – Grade C Dangerous Throw – 2 Match Penalty Notice
Sitaleki Akauola (Salford) – Grade B Intentional Trip – 2 Match Penalty Notice
Brodie Croft (Salford) – Grade A Late Hit on Passer – 0 Match Penalty Notice
Sione Mata’utia (St Helens) – Grade A Late Hit on Passer – 1 Match Penalty Notice
Brad Singleton (Wigan) – Grade C High Tackle – 3 Match Penalty Notice

The following player was handed a caution:

Danny Levi (Huddersfield) – High Tackle

Verdict: What!? Another ban…

Rohan Smith has had a real job on controlling the discipline within this team.

It has definitely improved since he took over, but the Match Review Panel are coming down harder on players than they ever have and a late hit on a halfback was never going to have the desired outcome for Matt Prior.

A man of his experience should have pulled out of the challenge on Richardson, but it is easier said than done when you’re not in the heat of the battle.

Speaking of heat, Prior will now miss Saturday’s trip to Toulouse in the scorching sun which will be a big blow to head coach Smith and his already lightweight pack.

But it’s not the first suspension he has had to deal with since taking the hot seat at Headingley and it won’t be the last – let’s just hope there is another cover there to fill the void that will be left by Prior.

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