Brown’s fury at Flanagan injury

Saints coach Nathan Brown

Saints coach Nathan Brown

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FUMING Nathan Brown has vented his frustration at a ‘cannonball tackle’ by three Hull KR players which has ended in-form back rower Mark Flanagan’s season.

Flanagan, 25, suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in Saints’ Super League defeat at Craven Park two weeks ago. The rampaging second rower, who is out of contract at the end of the year, was held up by two Hull KR players when a third smashed into the side of the tackle, injuring the former Wests Tigers ace.

Medics say he will require a knee reconstruction operation and will miss the remainder of the season.

The loss of Flanagan is a shattering blow to a Saints side already reeling from injuries to several key stars.

And they were dealt a further blow yesterday when Francis Meli, Jon Wilkin and Ade Garner were banned for a combined total of seven games for offences committed during Saturday’s ill-tempered cup defeat at Hull KR.

Kiwi ace Meli was handed a four match ban, while Wilkin and Garner will miss two and one, respectively.

Brown, who so far this season has refused to blame his team’s wobbly form on injuries, was yesterday in no mood to chalk up this latest setback to bad luck.

“It’s a devastating personal blow for the player and adds further strain to our already seriously depleted squad,” he said.

“We were more than surprised that the offending ‘tackle’ was not the subject of serious disciplinary review.”

Young prop Luke Thompson could make his debut this weekend, with Nathan Ashe drafted into the halves.

“Anthony Laffranchi also received one shortly after in the same game and again no disciplinary action was taken.

“Mark missed the subsequent Challenge Cup Game against Hull KR. He is a great young player whose season is over and yet no action was or has been taken.

“It just adds to the growing frustration as to the lack of consistency so often experienced with disciplinary proceedings and which has major consequential effects on players’ careers and club’s seasons.

“As a club we will, of course, always accept any punishment our players are given; and all we ask is for the same clarity and consistency for all players and all clubs.”

He went on: “There would seem to be no consistency of referral, interpretation or decision in the RFL disciplinary and coaches and players are finding it extremely frustrating as this should be a relatively straightforward process but, for whatever reasons, it doesn’t seem to be.”

Hull KR yesterday declined to respond to Brown’s comment.

Is Brown right to blast the Robins? Email andy.moffatt@jpress.co.uk or comment online at sthelensreporter.co.uk or write to us at Letters, St Helens Reporter, Bank House, Claughton Street, St Helens,

WA10 1RL.