Rugby League - Meli could face eight-match ban

St Helens winger Francis Meli could be banned for up to eight matches for his dismissal in Saturday's defeat at Hull KR after being charged with a grade E offence.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Meli could face eight-match ban

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Francis Meli is set for a spell on the sidelines

The former New Zealand international was sent off 33 minutes into Saints' 26-18 Tetley's Challenge Cup fourth-round loss at Craven Park for a high tackle on Rovers winger Craig Hall.

Meli is already facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating his elbow in the tackle which caused a whiplash injury to his opponent.

St Helens coach Nathan Brown insisted after the match that Meli is a clean player and that the tackle was a reflex action.

The Rugby Football League's match-review panel have decided the high tackle was intentional and charged Meli with a grade E offence, which carries a suspension of between four and eight matches.

He will appear before the RFL's disciplinary committee in Leeds on Tuesday and could be joined by two of his Saints team-mates after they were put on report during Saturday's tie.

Jon Wilkin has been charged with a grade C dangerous shoulder charge on Hull KR scrum-half Michael Dobson, while winger Ade Gardner is facing a grade B charge for a similar offence on Rovers centre Kris Welham.

Both Wilkin, one of only two Saints players to have started all 13 league and cup games so far this year, and Gardner have until 11am on Tuesday to submit early-guilty pleas and avoid a hearing.

Meanwhile, Catalan Dragons hooker Ian Henderson has been charged with a grade B reckless strike following his dismissal during his side's 50-12 fourth-round Cup win at Hunslet.

He is also eligible to submit an early-guilty plea and accept a one-match ban.

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