RUCK REFFING NO LAUGHING MATTER NOW
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.