Joel Tomkins: Catalans Dragons forward calls guilty verdict an ‘injustice’ after eight-game ban


Joel Tomkins and Israel Folau tackle Richie Myler
Joel Tomkins (right) and Israel Folau tackle Richie Myler

Catalans Dragons’ Joel Tomkins says his eight-match ban for a “suspect challenge” on Leeds full-back Richie Myler is an “injustice”.

The 33-year-old was found guilty of ‘inappropriate contact’ on the backside of Leeds full-back Richie Myler.

Back-rower Tomkins admitted his hand made contact with Myler’s buttocks during Friday’s game at Headingley, but said it had been “unintentional”.

“My conscience is completely clear,” he said on social media.

Brother Sam, a Dragons teammate, tweeted Joel’s statement,external-link which continued: “There is absolutely no way I would ever attempt to do what I am accused of.”

Tomkins also criticised the quality of the video evidence available at the hearing, but said he would not appeal as “the damage had already been done”.

Under Rugby Football League disciplinary procedures, the governing body’s only role is to provide administrative support once cases are taken to the independent tribunal.

And it is understood that the onus is with clubs and defending player to raise any difficulties or issues with supporting material during a hearing.

Catalans beat the Rhinos 26-14 but the win was slightly overshadowed by incidents involving Tomkins and teammate Michael McIlorum, who himself received a six-game ban.

Tomkins’ offence was judged to be Grade F – the most serious – and the eight-game ban for ‘other contrary behaviour’ was the minimum sentence that could be imposed for such an offence.

However, Tomkins received less than the 12-week ban former Manly and Wests Tigers winger John Hopoate was given for a similar offence in Australia back in 2001.

The dual-code England international has been involved in controversy in the past, when he was fined and suspended after a video showing him abusing bar staff went public during his time at Wigan.

But he said he “always put his hand up and admitted mistakes” when guilty and this was not the case this time.

“If you see footage of the tackle,” Tomkins said. “Consider that I’m in an awkward position in a tackle, I’m trying to keep him on the ground, I’m looking down, and in the wrestle my hand ends up on his backside.

“I’ve made thousands and thousands of tackles over the years, without ever being accused of something like this; I hope people can believe it was completely accidental.”

BBC News