Meli blow for Saints
St Helens winger Francis Meli is facing a lengthy lay-off after dislocating his elbow while making the illegal tackle that brought his dismissal in his side's Tetley's Challenge Cup fourth-round defeat by Hull KR.
Saints coach Nathan Brown, who revealed Meli's injury in the post-match press conference, admitted referee Richard Silverwood had no alternative but to show a red card to the former New Zealand international for a swinging arm on Rovers' two-try winger Craig Hall.
The sending-off came eight minutes before half-time with Saints trailing 12-6 and, although they hit back in the second half to take an 18-16 lead, Brown believes it was a crucial factor in his side's first opening-round Cup exit for 18 years.
"I don't think he had much choice," Brown said after his team's 26-18 loss. "Franny's a very clean player - he's rarely penalised at all.
"It was just a reflex action and that can happen when you're out wide as an outside back defender when there's big spaces.
"It was a great effort to get to the front with 12 men. It was just unfortunate, with the incident that happened, that we couldn't hang on."