Pauli Pauli 'incorrectly penalised week in, week out' - York City Knights coach

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York City Knights prop forward Pauli Pauli runs at the Bradford Bulls defence. Picture: Craig Hawkhead
York City Knights prop forward Pauli Pauli runs at the Bradford Bulls defence. Picture: Craig Hawkhead

JAMES FORD believes that York City Knights star Pauli Pauli is “incorrectly penalised week in, week out” by referees.

Pauli received a sin-bin for a shoulder charge in York’s 20-16 defeat to Bradford Bulls - one of several decisions to go against the prop.

The forward has been hit by three bans thus far this year and could be set for another enforced spell on the sidelines for the Knights.

“I feel for him,” head coach Ford told Premier Sports. “Pauli Pauli is incorrectly penalised week in, week out. He’s a big strong fella who tackles hard but that’s in his armoury.

“If he’s not allowed to tackle hard, then that’s like telling (Wigan Warriors back) Bevan French that he’s not allowed to run fast.

“I’ve seen three or four times there where he’s been penalised and I feel really feel for him.

“He wants to comes out here and play well, he’s putting the effort in and I think he’s being unfairly treated at times.”

Speaking to the media afterwards, Ford continued on Bradford Bulls half-back Myles Lawford: “He did a couple of high tackles. What’s the difference between him and Pauli? If they’re tackling at the head, they’re tackling at the head.

“Does Pauli get sin-binned because he’s big? If that’s the case, I’ve not seen it in the rule book.”

The Knights boss admitted to being at a loss of where to move forward with the issue of Pauli’s disciplinary record.

“I don’t know where we go from here,” he conceded. “To me, it’s clear as day. He got penalised last week for a shoulder charge and nothing came of it.

“He’s been penalised three or four times here. The high tackle is not a penalty and I don’t believe the sin-binning was even a penalty.

“The referee has got it wrong and that has an impact on our energy.

“Do I go home and take the time to clip that up and send it in (to the RFL)? I know what’s coming, ‘Yeah, we’re sorry, James’. It doesn’t give us the points.”

Ford continued: “There’s no rule in rugby saying you can’t hurt someone. You can hurt people in rugby league, it’s a physical competitive sport and you can hurt people within in the rules of the game. Those tackles were within the rules.”

An RFL spokesperson has responded to Ford's comments, stating: "It would be inappropriate to comment on individual incidents before Thursday’s meeting of the Match Review Panel, which will consider any incidents from the weekend’s Betfred Championship fixtures.

"However all clubs and head coaches were informed at the start of the season of a number of changes in the way matches would be refereed, and incidents graded, in response to developments in medical and scientific knowledge."