Infotainment Factory: Legends dispute benefits to drop in NRL penalties

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Sunday, 21 April 2019

Legends dispute benefits to drop in NRL penalties


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South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett may not agree but the massive fall in penalties this NRL season is a winner with the players, according to the game's most capped player Cameron Smith.

There have been 576 penalties - or 12.3 per game - with the sixth NRL round of 2019 almost complete, according to Fox Sports.

At the same point last year there were 857 penalties (17.9 per game).

Before round one, NRL head of football Graham Annesley instructed whistleblowers to stay out of the game as much as possible and allow matches to flow, particularly around the play-the-ball and 10m rule.

A former first-grade referee himself, Annesley also visited all 16 NRL head coaches for face-to-face meetings to declare he wanted the game determined by the players rather than match officials.

Smith said it was making the game a better spectacle.

"From a players' point of view I think it's fantastic as I think it allows for the game to flow a lot more," the Melbourne Storm skipper said on Monday.

"I'm not too sure what the fans are thinking but the players get to express their skills a lot more.

"Last year it became very frustrating for everyone involved in the game - even for the referees with the way the game was officiated.

"It lets the referees get a feel for the match instead of nitpicking at every small thing and it's provided for much more entertaining games."

Some may argue Smith's Storm side is a beneficiary of the push to wind back penalties. With more leniency around the ruck, the Storm - already masters of the wrestle - can slow the ruck down even further.

Bennett insists this has resulted in the ruck descending into farce and lashed the trend following his side's gritty 14-6 win over Canterbury on Good Friday.

The seven-time premiership-winner said sides were getting away with too much and the whistleblowers were being too lenient.

Bennett said sides had figured out they could get away with spoiling tactics.

"Because they've tried to have less penalties and less down time, the players are abusing it," Bennett said.

"They are trying to be lenient and trying to get us to cooperate and work within the rules but I'm saying at times we're not complying with the rules.

"I've never been in an era of the game when the players are less compliant, they stretch everything they possibly can on the field."

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett may not agree but the massive fall in penalties this NRL season is a winner with the players, according to the game's most capped player Cameron Smith.

There have been 576 penalties - or 12.3 per game - with the sixth NRL round of 2019 almost complete, according to Fox Sports.

At the same point last year there were 857 penalties (17.9 per game).

Before round one, NRL head of football Graham Annesley instructed whistleblowers to stay out of the game as much as possible and allow matches to flow, particularly around the play-the-ball and 10m rule.

A former first-grade referee himself, Annesley also visited all 16 NRL head coaches for face-to-face meetings to declare he wanted the game determined by the players rather than match officials.

Smith said it was making the game a better spectacle.

"From a players' point of view I think it's fantastic as I think it allows for the game to flow a lot more," the Melbourne Storm skipper said on Monday.

"I'm not too sure what the fans are thinking but the players get to express their skills a lot more.

"Last year it became very frustrating for everyone involved in the game - even for the referees with the way the game was officiated.

"It lets the referees get a feel for the match instead of nitpicking at every small thing and it's provided for much more entertaining games."

Some may argue Smith's Storm side is a beneficiary of the push to wind back penalties. With more leniency around the ruck, the Storm - already masters of the wrestle - can slow the ruck down even further.

Bennett insists this has resulted in the ruck descending into farce and lashed the trend following his side's gritty 14-6 win over Canterbury on Good Friday.

The seven-time premiership-winner said sides were getting away with too much and the whistleblowers were being too lenient.

Bennett said sides had figured out they could get away with spoiling tactics.

"Because they've tried to have less penalties and less down time, the players are abusing it," Bennett said.

"They are trying to be lenient and trying to get us to cooperate and work within the rules but I'm saying at times we're not complying with the rules.

"I've never been in an era of the game when the players are less compliant, they stretch everything they possibly can on the field."

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