Harry Newman defends actions as Leeds Rhinos challenge suspension for aggressive behaviour
Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman has defended his actions against St Helens, insisting he was not aggressive towards referee Tom Grant.
The 22-year-old has received a two-match ban after being charged with a grade C offence by the Rugby Football League's match review panel.
Newman could be seen remonstrating with Grant in the closing stages of Leeds' defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
In issuing the charge, the panel stated: "Disputes using aggressive language or body language."
The Rhinos have challenged the grading in the hope of having Newman available for next week's Magic Weekend clash with Castleford Tigers.
Newman put the incident down to a rush of blood in the heat of the moment - but denied overstepping the line.
"Obviously I’ve been banned for aggressive behaviour towards a referee," he said.
"I’m just a very passionate player and sometimes things boil over.
"I don’t think I was aggressive towards him but that’s what I’ve been given so I’ll just have to take it and see what comes from that.
"If it’s come across that way, I just want to apologise to the fans.
"I know the refs have got a tough job to do – they can’t get everything right and as players it’s tough when you’re in the moment and things sometimes get the better of you.
"It’s not meant personally and I don’t see myself as an aggressive person towards the referees especially."
Newman will sit out Saturday's trip to Hull FC and if his appeal is dismissed, he will also miss out on a return to St James' Park after helping the Rhinos to a memorable win in 2021.
It would be a setback for the youngster after completing a game for the first time since October last time out.
"It was great to be back playing the full 80 minutes," said Newman, who scored a thrilling try in an impressive showing.
"I was really hoping to be involved at Magic Weekend but as it stands currently I’m not going to be which obviously would be disappointing.
"As a player, these are the kind of games you want to be involved in. That will be tough to take if that’s how it stands.
"Hopefully the ban can be reduced so I can be involved at Magic Weekend."
Newman was one of three Leeds players banned after the latest round of fixtures to continue a worrying theme this season.
Bodene Thompson has been suspended for two games for tripping, while fellow forward Zane Tetevano is set to face a tribunal on a grade D striking charge.
The Rhinos have received two red and 11 yellow cards in 17 competitive matches this year, which Newman admitted has contributed to their poor campaign.
"It's obviously a massive thing we need to improve on," he said.
"We've had bans all year which has not helped the team and the consistency within that team.
"The last 20 minutes last week things got frustrating and it's tough when you're doing it tough.
"It's hard when people comment on it and they don't actually know how it feels in that moment. No-one means to come across like that and no-one wants to do those sorts of actions.
"We all care and all play this game for the same reason. We want to play well and get that win.
"But if we're not disciplined, we won't get those wins."