'˜It's a joke ... farcical and makes the game a laughing stock' - Is Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester right?

Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester has been left fuming by the Rugby Football League's much-maligned disciplinary process, claiming it is making the sport 'a laughing stock.'

FURIOUS: Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach, Chris Chester. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The 37-year-old labelled it a “joke” last night after revealing his injured forward Chris Annakin will miss the rest of the season following an illegal challenge that saw Wigan Warriors loose forward Sean O’Loughlin receive only a one-game ban.

The England captain was dismissed for the first time in his career after the reckless high tackle in Friday’s game, which Wigan won 22-18. But the sport as a whole was stunned when he was subsequently given such a lenient punishment by the RFL disciplinary panel on Tuesday.

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O’Loughlin was originally charged by their match-review panel with a grade C offence that normally carries a suspension of two to three matches.

However, the 33-year-old made a personal appearance and the panel took into consideration mitigating factors –his guilty plea and previous unblemished record – before ruling.

Yet Chester is now further infuriated as he has since learned Annakin will miss three months of action due to a knee injury suffered as he collapsed following O’Loughlin’s tackle.

“There’s no consistency whatsoever with the disciplinary system,” said Chester. “It’s a joke. Farcical. I get on well with ‘Lockers’ and this is not a pop at him or the Wigan club.

“But I’ve now lost a player for 12 weeks due to a knee injury sustained in his high tackle.

“At the start of the season, the RFL spoke about being able to go outside of the MRP gradings when a player is injured as a result of an illegal challenge.

“They’ve gone outside it here but actually gone the other way, reduced it and given O‘Loughlin a one-game ban. We’ve had no one from the RFL on the phone asking for a medical report, seeing if Chris Annakin’s jaw’s been broken or even just asking how he is. The decision-making processes around the disciplinary are just wrong and they have to change as the game is becoming a laughing stock.”