The Courier-Mail

RUCK REFF­ING NO LAUGH­ING MAT­TER NOW

- PAUL MALONE

IF RUGBY league boils down to the art of get­ting away with what you can when you are able, the ref­er­ee­ing of the ruck is leav­ing play­ers un­cer­tain.

Two cases in point came in the last NRL round in games in­volv­ing Queens­land teams, when early penalty blitzes by ref­er­ees pe­tered out as the game went on.

The Cow­boys re­ceived three penal­ties in the first six min­utes against Melbourne on Satur­day, then went 60 more min­utes be­fore their fourth from ref­eree Ben Cum­mins.

“At times it’s po­liced re­ally hard and at times it’s not,’’ Bron­cos prop Adam Blair said this week.

“It’s hard to con­trol the de­fen­sive line and the tack­les when you don’t know it’s (con­sid­ered by the ref­er­ees to be) a dom­i­nant tackle.

“A lot of ref­er­ees are giv­ing penal­ties for hold­ing down.

“Some aren’t, but you can’t com­plain about it too much.’’

Cronulla cap­tain Paul Gallen said after his team’s Round 23 loss to Melbourne that the Storm’s fa­mil­iar WrestleMa­nia ways hd­had gone un­pun­ished de­spite the game’s war on wrestling for much of the sea­son.

More in ad­mi­ra­tion than in crit­i­cism, Gallen said that if the Storm “can wres­tle like that ev­ery week, they will be very hard to beat’’.

Melbourne will aim to con­trol the tempo of the rucks against Bris­bane at Sun­corp Sta­dium to­mor­row night as they did against Cronulla and North Queens­land.

Bron­cos lock Corey Parker said he thought some ref­er­ees wanted “the game to flow’’.

“You never know what you are go­ing to get each game with le­niency in the ruck,’’ he said.

“Some ref­er­ees might blow the pea out of the whis­tle the first 10 min­utes and won’t touch it the last 10.”

The Bron­cos ap­peared to com­pre­hend dur­ing the first half of their Round 25 win over South Sydney at Allianz Sta­dium on Thurs­day night that ref­er­ees Matt Cecchin and Gavin Mor­ris were not go­ing to pe­nalise sides get­ting back “skinny’’ 10m at play-the-balls.

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