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Meli dismissal too much 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 Challenge Cup fourth round 26-18 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 believed 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," said Brown.

"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 unfortunate, with the incident that happened, that we couldn't hang on."

Saints had two players - Jon Wilkin and Ade Gardner - put on report for late tackles before being reduced to 12 men, and they paid the price for their indiscipline as Hull KR raced into a 12-0 lead thanks to tries from Hall and prop Mickey Paea.

Hall overcame the effects of the horrific-looking challenge from Meli to score his second try before half-time and, after Saints had edged in front courtesy of tries from Paul Wellens and Mark Percival, full-back ex-Giant Greg Eden clinched victory for the home side by scoring one try and creating another for Liam Salter.

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| YOU'RE OFF: Injured Francis Meli is shown a red card by Richard Silverwood
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2013
Words:301
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