sport

Westwood ban frustrates Smith

Warrington coach Tony Smith has voiced his frustration after Wolves forward Ben Westwood was banned for three matches this week.

Smith does not believe the Rugby Football League's disciplinary procedures are being applied consistently.

Westwood was hit with his suspension after being found guilty of making a dangerous throw on Wakefield's Scott Anderson in Super League last weekend.

Smith does not have an issue with Westwood being punished for what he accepts was an offence, but he fears the player's reputation may have counted against him.

Smith brought his laptop to his latest weekly press conference to highlight a tackle by St Helens' James Roby on Warrington's Michael Monaghan at the Magic Weekend earlier this month.

The Wolves boss does not believe there was much difference between the two incidents but Roby was not charged by the Rugby Football League.

Smith said: "I don't mind that Ben is punished for what could be classed as a dangerous tackle, as long as all the dangerous tackles are punished.

"I have just shown an incident that happened to one of our players the week before. It is there for everyone to see, whether it was dangerous or not.

"I am not trying to get anyone else into trouble but I want everyone else to be dealt with in the same manner, and in a fair manner.

"It hasn't helped put my faith in the current system after seeing a couple of incidents dealt with in severely different ways.

"I have no problem clamping down on lifting tackles but let's do it fairly and not pick and choose on the basis of maybe their past records or where they sit within the game or reputation they have.

"Let's deal with them all in the same manner."

England international Westwood has courted trouble before, most infamously after he escaped on-field punishment for punching Wigan's Blake Green in last year's Grand Final. He was later handed a one-match ban.

Smith accepts Westwood's record could count against him but does not want that to prevent incidents being dealt with on their merit.

He said: "We all know Benny plays it rough and tough and cops it rough and tough.

"He doesn't expect too much more, except that he gets dealt with in the same way other people do.

"That is the distressing thing for Benny and us as a club.

"I have no problem with anybody else from any other team, as long as they are dealt with in the same manner.

"If they have got a similar record, I understand the taking into account but there is also a duty of care that needs to be given to all players no matter what somebody's record is."

Wakefield's Chris Annakin was banned for five matches after being found guilty of a similar offence in the same match.