Leeds have had no luck with the disciplinary panel in 2022 but have largely only had themselves to blame.
From Round One when James Bentley was banned for a high shot against Warrington and Leeds attempted to appeal the decision only for the ban to be extended by another game, Leeds have seemingly had to chop and change their side on a week to week basis due to suspensions.
The last hefty lot of bans were given out after the defeat to St Helens when Zane Tetevano, Bodene Thompson and Harry Newman were all given substantial bans leaving Leeds short handed.
Leeds could have expected a boost in the return of Thompson from his ban but that will no longer be the case due to the suspension given out to Matt Prior yesterday.
Many people don’t recall the incident in which Prior took out a player late as the ban states. Well, it took place in the 24th minute and was on kicker Danny Richardson.
The reason he has received a suspension was because the contact “caused flexion to the head, neck or spinal column on an attacking player which poses an unacceptable risk of injury to that player” under Law 15 1 (1).
What probably didn’t help Prior’s cause was the fact that Richardson has just returned from a neck injury.
Some fans were worried that Aidan Sezer would receive a ban as well. The halfback has found some outstanding form in the last two games and the last thing he’d need would be to have that undercut by a ban.
Also, with Kruise Leeming and Blake Austin doubts for the trip to Toulouse, the Rhinos desperately need Sezer this week.
He escaped a ban despite his yellow card for a high tackle because “contact is with the shoulder and back initially and rides up into the neck.”
So, a rare piece of luck for Leeds at the panel and it keeps a key player in the mix.
Another ban Leeds can’t afford
Matt Prior’s ban is another Leeds couldn’t afford. It will leave the Rhinos with one out and out prop in Mikolaj Oledzki whilst the likes of Tetevano, Tom Holdroyd and Muizz Mustapha are all suspended.
It will mean Rohan Smith will be forced to use Bodene Thompson in the front row either starting or off the bench which is something Thompson has said he doesn’t enjoy preferring to play in the back-row.
It may also see Leeds start Cameron Smith or James Donaldson there which would be a big blow against a Toulouse pack in form bolstered by a future Leeds man in Justin Sangare. Maybe the Rhinos should ask for him early this week.
It is at least a boost to have Aidan Sezer still in the mix after his recent performances. He could still guide Leeds to victory.