Cheats continue to prosper as Tony Archer fails to bring back the bin

Tim Gore Columnist

By Tim Gore, Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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    “I’m expecting the referees to action those warnings… If a side complies, then play on. If they don’t, well I expect the referee to [take] action.” Tony Archer, February 21, 2017.

    What a total load of rubbish!

    What really annoys me, Tony Archer, is that I actually believed you were going to do it. I really thought you were going to make your referees bring back the sin bin.

    However, the home-and-away NRL season 2017 is only a quarter gone and already your strong pre-season words, as reported in the Fairfax press, ring as hollow as a politician’s non-core promise.

    To quote the Bard of Avon, from Macbeth, “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    Teams are still clearly and deliberately cheating their guts out in their defensive 20 to thwart their opponents’ attack and maintain their own line.

    Have a look at these statistics:

    Ladder position Team Penalties conceded rank Number of penalties conceded Average penalties per game Tries conceded 2017 Players sin binned for professional fouls
    1 Dragons 15th 30 5 16 0
    2 Storm 2nd 49 8.18 10 0
    3 Sharks 1st 50 8.33 13 0
    4 Roosters 7th 39 6.5 18 0
    5 Cowboys 13th 34 5.66 21 0
    6 Raiders 11th 35 5.83 20 1
    7 Broncos 8th 37 6.16 14 0
    8 Sea Eagles 5th 41 6.83 18 0
    9 Rabbitohs 16th 25 4.16 22 0
    10 Warriors 6th 40 6.66 22 0
    11 Bulldogs 12th 34 5.66 19 1
    12 Panthers 3rd 46 7.66 18 0
    13 Eels 4th 41 6.83 21 0
    14 Wests Tigers 14th 33 5.5 30 0
    15 Titans 9th 36 6 32 0
    16 Knights 10th 36 6 29 0
    Overall 606 6.3 323 2

    The awful truth is that the two most penalised sides of 2017 currently sit second and third on the NRL ladder, having between them won just three of the 11 penalty counts they’ve been involved in. The Storm have only won one penalty count so far in 2017 – their win against the Broncos in Round 3. The Sharks have won two – in their one-point win against the Knights in Round 5, and against the Storm in Round 6.

    In spite of both sides giving away 30 per cent more penalties than the year’s average, neither team has had a player sent to the sin bin.

    Conversely, but not at all coincidentally, both sides are easily the lowest try conceding sides in the NRL so far this season. We’ve seen this story repeatedly for the last ten seasons. However, this year Archer said he was going to fix it.

    He hasn’t.

    Season Average penalties per team Total penalties Sin bins Number of penalties per sin bin
    2017 6.31 606 7 86.5
    2016 6.8 2718 17 159.9
    2015 6.5 2610 13 200.7
    2014 6.4 2585 22 117.5

    While the average penalties per team per game is slightly down, and the sin bins are tracking higher than any time in the past four seasons, the reality is that little to nothing has changed.

    So far this season there has been one sin binning for every 89 penalties. That is distinctly better than last season, when it was one sin bin per 163 penalties. However, of the seven binnings so far this year, four have been for fisticuffs, one for dissent. The other two? Josh Jackson, in Round 4, was given ten for a professional foul that potentially stopped a try and Clay Priest was binned for his side’s repeated infringing in Round 1 (it was Priest’s second penalty conceded).

    So there has only been one sin binning for repeated infringements for every 606 penalties. That’s as dismal as ever – if not more.

    And let’s be clear: sin binning for punching has nothing whatsoever to do with cracking down on repeat transgressors.

    In particular, the fact that James Maloney has not been sent to the sin bin this season makes a fool of Tony Archer and his referees.

    Maloney – who Michael Ennis lauded for having spent all six years of high school in detention – has taken over the mantle of most penalised player in the NRL from his old hooker this season. He has already conceded 13 penalties at over two a game but, unlike his high school principal, none of the referees have had the courage to give him ten on the pine.

    James Maloney of the Sharks

    Not Ben Cummins in Round 3, when Maloney conceded three penalties. Not Matt Cecchin in Round 4 or Round 6, when the boy from Orange transgressed in triplicate. These aren’t just any two referees either, these are the blokes who Archer picked to officiate the 2016 NRL grand final.

    And it’s not like Maloney has been flying under the radar in regards to giving away truckloads of penalties for years now. In 2013 he was the worst offender in the NRL. In 2014 and 2015 he came in third, before coming in second in 2016 to Ennis. Over that whole time he has not been sin binned even once.

    WTF?!

    The referees are akin to Clancy Wiggum calling out an APB on Snake where Maloney is concerned, “Suspect is hatless. Repeat. Suspect is hatless.”

    This season only Gavin Badger and Ben Cummins have used the bin for reasons other than punching. And only Cummins has used the sin bin for repeated infringements. However, there have clearly been a number of games where repeated infringements have occurred. Bearing in mind that the average penalties in a game this season is 12.6, the following games featured far too many transgressions to not be accompanied by a binning:

    Penalties Game Referees Sin bin?
    20 Storm vs Brisbane Rd3 Gerard Sutton, Matt Noyen No
    19 Panthers vs Roosters Rd3 Grant Atkins, Chris Butler No
    19 Cowboys vs Sea Eagles Rd3 Henry Perenara, Peter Gough No
    18 Eels vs Sharks Rd4 Matt Cecchin, Chris James No
    18 Panthers vs Knights Rd4 Henry Perenara, Gavin Reynolds No
    18 Storm vs Panthers Rd5 Ashley Klein, David Munro No

    When each of the referee’s performances in 2017 are examined, it shows those who are more likely to use the whistle:

    Referee Games Games as lead referee Penalties per game Total penalties Average penalties per game Sin bins for professional fouls
    R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6
    Henry Perenara 6 6 11 10 19 18 17 15 90 15
    Matt Cecchin 6 6 15 10 16 18 14 16 89 14.8
    Grant Atkins 6 6 12 17 19 16 10 12 86 14.3
    Gerard Sutton* 7 6 15 13 20 10 10 26 94 (78) 13.4
    Ashley Klein 6 6 8 15 14 10 18 10 75 12.5
    David Munro* 6 4 9 13 11 14 18 11 76 (47) 12.6
    Adam Gee* 4 2 12 10 9 13 44 (22) 11
    Gavin Badger 6 6 13 11 14 13 8 9 68 11.3 1
    Ben Cummins 6 6 15 7 12 6 11 11 62 10.33 1
    Matt Noyen 6 15 13 20 16 17 15 96 16
    Peter Gough 3 11 10 19 40 13.3
    Gavin Reynolds* 3 18 9 13 40 13.3
    Chris James 6 8 15 14 18 14 9 78 13
    Chris Butler 6 12 17 19 6 11 10 75 12.5
    Jon Stone 5 13 11 14 13 8 59 11.8 1
    Chris Sutton* 7 15 20 11 14 10 12 82 11.7 1
    Alan Shortall* 7 24 10 16 10 10 10 80 11.4
    Average 12.6

    *Alan Shortall officiated in two games of Round One.
    *Chris Sutton officiated in two games of Round Two.
    *Gerard Sutton officiated in two games of Round Six.
    *Adam Gee promoted to lead referee in round 5.
    *David Munro demoted to second referee in round 5.
    *Gavin Reynolds replaced Peter Gough as second referee in round 4.

    The most interesting thing that this chart points out is that Cummins and Badger – the two lead referees that blow the fewest penalties per game on average – are the only ones to have used the bin for professional fouls over the first six rounds of 2017.

    So much for repeated infringements being the catalyst for the sin bin.

    If the referees won’t sin bin players who routinely transgress, perhaps the NRL could take a leaf out of football’s book. In the round ball game, when a player incurs a predetermined number of yellow cards during the course of the season they have a mandated one-match suspension.

    In the NRL a player should have a mandated one-match suspension once they incur ten penalties. Over the last four seasons, the percentage of players who have conceded ten or more penalties has been steadily rising. In 2014 it was 20 per cent. In 2015 it was 23 per cent and in 2016 it was 24 per cent. This season it is already tracking to be well over 25 per cent.

    Referee Gerard Sutton sin bins Bulldogs David Klemmer

    In each of the last three seasons, James Maloney would have had to sit out two games – or alternatively cut down on the number of penalties he concedes.

    This system works extremely well in football and lets the referees officiate each game in total isolation, allowing themselves to pretend that none of the players are clearly long-term recidivists. Unlike the use of the sin bin, it is in no way reliant on the courage of referees.

    If Archer continues to do nothing, the NRL will continue to be blighted by such stats as these two:

    1. The fewest penalties conceded by a side in a game this season was just one, by the Wests Tigers in their Round 4 match against the Storm. They lost.
    2. The most penalties conceded by a side in a game this season was 12, by the Storm in their Round 5 match against the Panthers. They won.

    For all of Tony Archer’s words about cracking down on sides that repeatedly infringe, there is clearly no actual will or courage to make it happen.

    Once again, it’s safe to say that if you want to be competitive in the NRL, you’ve got to cheat.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

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    The Crowd Says (127)

    • April 13th 2017 @ 9:09am
      spruce moose said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Tim,

      How do you respond to the allegation that sin bins have gone down 80%, but violent sack beatings have increased a shocking 4000%?

      • April 13th 2017 @ 9:34am
        KingCowboy said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Ha Ha, great Simpsons line Spruce! cat burglar!

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2017 @ 10:17am
          Tom Rock said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Love it Spruce Moose.

          • April 13th 2017 @ 11:37am
            Norad said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            Too simplistic Tim this story. Maybe the rules are the problem. Not what players, coaches & referees are doing or not doing.

            • Columnist

              April 13th 2017 @ 11:38am
              Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

              Please explain Norad?

            • April 13th 2017 @ 2:19pm
              McNaulty said | April 13th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

              Yep, you have my attention because I agree. I would burn the rule book and start again. The only rule I absolutely agree with is the no forward pass rule.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2017 @ 3:30pm
                The Barry said | April 13th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                No argument here that the rule book doesn’t align with the way the refs are officiating.

      • Roar Guru

        April 13th 2017 @ 10:15am
        Paul D said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Oh spruce, I’d be lying if I said my team weren’t committing deliberate fouls

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2017 @ 10:41am
          Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          Beat me to it Paul D…

          • Roar Guru

            April 13th 2017 @ 10:47am
            Paul D said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            Sorry. Great article by the way. This sort of thing will continue until players start getting binned

            But the thing is you’ll inevitably see it applied unequally – refs love sending that fringe off-the-bench second rower to the bin for a fingernail on the ball, but HRH Cameron Smith would never be given the bums rush, not even if he had a giant DOWN DOWN Coles hand on the ball and was doing the dance

            • Columnist

              April 13th 2017 @ 10:53am
              Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

              Some would suggest that Cam could come in offiside, as a fourth man flop, put hands on the ball and pull it free, while obstructing the man trying to get to dummy half and bear hugging the ref simultaneously and still convince the ref that the Storm deserved the next five penalties.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2017 @ 11:04am
                Paul D said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                Pretty sure I saw him do that during an Origin match

              • April 13th 2017 @ 11:43am
                KingCowboy said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                I just can’t see how anyone can dislike Cam Smith. I don’t like the Storm but I respect them. Cam never has a bad word to say about anyone and he treats the game with the up most respect. I think it is sad people say these things about him.

              • Columnist

                April 13th 2017 @ 12:07pm
                Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                The bit where he attacked my captain’s injured knee off the ball, KC.
                Absolutely appalling behaviour.
                Should have been suspended for many a week for that.

              • April 13th 2017 @ 7:30pm
                Bill larkin said | April 13th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                The hatred of the Storm typified by this and other posts is par for the course for league commentators here. Jealousy is a curse.

              • Columnist

                April 13th 2017 @ 9:18pm
                Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

                Bill, how should I view the bloke that attacked my captains injured knee while he was not in possession and the ball was dead?
                As a true gentleman?
                A role model to be followed?
                A pillar of society?
                I’ll go with street thug myself.
                I certainly was jealous until I saw that.
                Then I was just plain disgusted.
                Like I was with Greg Chapple and the underarm bowl he ordered.
                The incident destroyed my admiration of Cam Smith.
                He slightly recovered following his concession speech but I just can’t get over what a low rent act it was.
                How do you justify that action to yourself Bill?
                How do you explain it away?
                What makes that incident alright for you?
                I really want to know.

              • April 14th 2017 @ 9:03am
                Gray-Hand said | April 14th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

                It was just a little bit of niggle at most. Hardly likely to cause injury.

                It wasn’t exactly a “Sweep the Leg” scenario.

              • Columnist

                April 14th 2017 @ 10:13am
                Tim Gore said | April 14th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

                you’re right…
                Hardly likely to cause injury…
                So why’d he do it Grey-Hand? To not cause injury?!?

                He meant nothing by it. it was a joke! That’s it. A joke.
                Of course he wasn’t trying to aggravate an injury by any underhanded means he could come up with to try and give his side any advantage he could…
                What was I thinking.
                At worst it was only a grade one piece of piss poor sportsmanship. Niggle. Its all good. Not a window into his modus operandi.
                He’s a top fella, really. Ask anyone!
                I bet he and Jarrod go fishing together and laugh about it.
                “Toots, you remember that prelim where I attacked your injured knee from behind in a sneaky way, when you weren’t in possesion and the ball was dead?”
                “Do I!?! Good times. You are the funniest bloke Cam. I wish I could play against you all the time… Why are you so misunderstood?”

              • April 14th 2017 @ 9:54am
                Larry1950 said | April 14th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

                If Cam Smith played for your club or NSW, you’d laud him as the ultimate professional competitor. Unfortunately, self interest & bias pervades a large quantity of the comments in relation to the NRL.
                Not a Storm supporter but surmise that the way he speaks to refs, as opposed to the abrasive haranguing from a captain like Gallen, gets him positive results. Maybe other teams should heed the old saying of “if you can’t beat them, join them” and speak respectfully to officials.
                I’d like to see a fine levied on every player who runs at a ref to dispute a decision, the NRL doesn’t want to emulate the histrionics of Italian or South American soccer players looking for penalties. Hip pocket impact would soon cut that action out of the game.

              • Columnist

                April 14th 2017 @ 10:15am
                Tim Gore said | April 14th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                Larry, how can you possibly laud a bloke who attacks a players injured knee, when the guy is not in possession and the ball is dead???
                Listen to yourself!
                How he was not suspended for that is beyond me.

              • April 14th 2017 @ 11:44am
                Gray-Hand said | April 14th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                It was a nothing incident Tim. A little bump. Watch it again. You are being extremely precious.

              • April 14th 2017 @ 12:45pm
                MAX said | April 14th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Cameron Smith tried to disguise his knee knocking into Jarrod Croker’s
                knee as accidental. Any fair minded viewing of the incident could only
                conclude he had failed. It was calculating and deliberate. It should be
                remembered that Jarrod is a super efficient goal kicker so there may
                have been extra motive.

                I rated Cameron Smith as #1 in Matt Cleary’s recent Best of Review.
                Had I remembered that incident It would have been difficult to do so.
                Then there is the question; “Has there ever been a perfect footballer
                in any code?”

            • Roar Guru

              April 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm
              Cadfael said | April 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

              The problem is that the referees are frightened that if they use the sin bin, they are affecting the outcome of the game. But in not using the sin, they are affecting the outcome of the game.

        • April 13th 2017 @ 12:41pm
          Albo said | April 13th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

          Not sure my Panthers are deliberately committing fouls ? They can’t keep a team out from scoring long enough to give away deliberate penalties !

      • April 13th 2017 @ 10:52am
        spruce moose said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        But top article as always Tim.

        And it’s right to call it what it is: cheating.

        Players are deliberately circumventing the rules as they know that they can chance their arms because referees are unlikely to catch them out. The text book definition of cheating.

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2017 @ 11:41am
          Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          Look, I pick on Jim Maloney here because he is consistently up there. But as I say, 25% of the NRL players are tracking to concede ten+
          It’s the way the game is being officiated.

          I actually love James Maloney the player and the person. He’s just playing the system and his premiership ring says he’s playing it well.

          • April 13th 2017 @ 11:57am
            spruce moose said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

            Actually, I’m not picking on James Moloney here.

            He just has a serious technical flaw in how he tackles. He can’t seem to help getting the arm high. I don’t think he’s intentionally doing it.

            It’s the other stuff that other people (including Maloney) do when the ball is within 20m from the line that is cheating. It’s the arms in the ruck slowing down play. It’s the grubby tactics. It’s the deliberate flop to slow the play down knowing the referee won’t award a penalty. It’s the blatant leaving the line before the ball is played.

            Seriously, once it gets to golden point, players know a referee wouldn’t dare have the bravery to call inside the 10, so players are deliberately rushing up to the line long before the ball is played.

            It’s a two way street, referees aren’t calling penalties. That’s a problem. But the players knowing this and then cheating is also a problem. Both need to improve. There are lots of sports where the onus for fair play is on the player, not the referee. I’d like to see some balance brought back into league.

            • April 13th 2017 @ 2:27pm
              McNaulty said | April 13th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              this comes back to the coaches. We need coaches with higher moral standards.

              • Columnist

                April 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm
                Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

                I laughed out loud when I read this…

          • April 13th 2017 @ 1:08pm
            andrew said | April 13th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

            minor correction.

            ‘Rings’ – His rings suggest he plays it well….

            • Columnist

              April 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm
              Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              of course. well corrected

    • April 13th 2017 @ 9:16am
      AGO74 said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Bring back the 5 minute bin. I think you will find refs will get the courage then. Either that or make it 10 minutes unless the opposition scores a try in which case the binned player comes back Regardless of when they score in that 10 minute period.

      these are much more appropriate punishments than a carte Blanche 10 minutes. I understand your frustration Tim but 10 minutes down one man is a very stiff penalty…..

      The hatless suspect reference is outstanding by the way. Love it.

      • Roar Guru

        April 13th 2017 @ 10:47am
        Paul D said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        I really like the idea of 10 mins or try, whichever comes first

      • Columnist

        April 13th 2017 @ 10:49am
        Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        ten minutes is not a stiff penalty because it never gets used – unless you go the knuckle.
        And it isn’t a stiff penalty because right now we have a situation – and it has been the case for a decade – that the seasons top sides also have the worst offenders. It isn’t a coincidence.
        The NRL has a cheaters culture. A hands on the ball, flopping on the tackled player, ball stripping, offside defending cheaters culture. A penalty is known to not only not be not a disincentive, it’s an incentive to reset and hold the line.

        Yet the referees don’t have the bottle to fix it by using the ten.
        The suspensions handed out by Comans in the early ’80’s were considered by many to be ‘too stiff’ but they cleaned the game right up.
        It’s all about the will and courage of the refs. if they actually start binning for this practice then watch it quickly dry up BECAUSE it is stiff.
        The question is: Do you want open footy and lots of tries or do you want to watch the likes of Jim Maloney stopping that happening?

        “I told you, you don’t get a gun until you tell me your name!”
        “I’ve had it up to here with your rules!”

      • April 13th 2017 @ 12:47pm
        Brando Connor said | April 13th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        How about just putting the player on report for a professional foul instead of the bin. That way the ref doesn’t have to worry about changing the outcome of the game if they get it wrong. And the wronged side can get an additional interchange.

        The match review guys can go through the game afterwards and hand out 10 points here and there for flopping or a hand on the ball. More points for a preventing a try. Pretty soon you will have player racking up enough points to be suspended for a week or more. And best of all for the Storm haters out there Cameron Smith wont be able to work his Jedi mind tricks.

        • April 14th 2017 @ 5:20am
          LachyP said | April 14th 2017 @ 5:20am | ! Report

          So he team that dominates field position and has every one of there attacking plays slowed down by professional fouls and cheating tactics doesn’t get any benefit? How will this work in a knockout game? Players will only stray as far as the referees allow. No need for any rule changes at all, just proper enforcement of the current ones. Do you think teams will continue giving away penalties if ref’s stop giving a player benefit of the doubt after one penalty in their defensive 20 and start sending players to the bin if the foul? Or will players start scrambling to get off the tackled player and not interfere with the okay the ball.

          Currently it is a blight on the nrl and costs us seeing great, free flowing attacking football where brilliance is rewarded not constantly inhibited by foul play with no repercussions for offending teams.

    • April 13th 2017 @ 9:43am
      uglykiwi said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      In fairness; the referees have a huge say in who wins the game; a penalty on the fifth tackle running the ball back, is worth so much more than a penalty on the first tackle when you are on the attack.
      The good sides know this and try to milk them, i.e. Broncos and Melbourne. They only need to get 1-2 per half and its a game changer. What I would like to see, is a player penalised for milking!!! Wouldnt this be great to see!! Although the chances of a referee penalising Melbourne for this would be 1000000/1.
      All I want to see is consistency from the referees, but all I see is that they have their favorites (who never get penalised) Brisbane/Melbourne and the sides they do not like (Roosters).
      Example last game. Brisbane player plays the ball about three metres in front of where he is tackled…… result Broncos penalty, Roosters inside the 10……… next half; opposite happens, Rooster player plays it about 1 metre in front of where he was tackled….. result asked to go back and play the ball. Shocking refereeing. But its what you see all the time, referees are too scared to penalise Benny and Craigs teams.
      Oh and 5 minutes in the bin!!!! Its a must; any player that stops a team scoring….. 5 minutes in the team! Any player that slaps, 5 in the bin and given a pink dress to wear for 24 hours.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 13th 2017 @ 10:00am
        Bunney said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        I’ve long agreed with bringing back 5 in the bin, provided they use it frequently!
        But I am jumping on the bandwagon of slapper putting on a pink dress for the next 24 hours. Can we make them put on a pink tutu over the top of their playing kit and play the rest of the game out in it? That I would like to see!!!

        • April 13th 2017 @ 2:36pm
          McNaulty said | April 13th 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

          Storm concede their penalties inside their own 20. It does 2 things: 1 Allows their line to set; and 2. adds up so that Cam Smith can point to the penalty count so that his team can milk a more game changing penalty later on. (i.e. an opportunity creating penalty).

      • Roar Rookie

        April 13th 2017 @ 10:24am
        Joe said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Its odd that you say Melbourne never gets penalized when Tims statistics say they’re the 2nd most penalized team in the comp.

        • Roar Guru

          April 13th 2017 @ 10:55am
          Kaks said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          They are penalized, but they arent punished.

          Your Lord Cameron Smith deserves a sin bin at least once a game, but instead get’s to chat to the referee’s mid game about life, culture, philosophy – you name it.

          Never seen someone so blatantly cheat with his flops on the tackler, hands on the ball, lying in behind the play the ball to deliberately slow it down – and never get a 10min cool down.

          • April 13th 2017 @ 11:54am
            KingCowboy said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            Geez settle down Kaks, that is taking it to far

            • Roar Guru

              April 13th 2017 @ 1:30pm
              Kaks said | April 13th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              Cant calm down when I see someone get away with murder time and time again.

              Great player, cunning as they come, but a blatant cheat.

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2017 @ 10:59am
          Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          correct Joe

          • April 13th 2017 @ 11:06pm
            Bill larkin said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

            Oh Christ. You have no right to your “expert” status here with such a biased agenda.

            The Storm gets the second most penalties against. They get away with murder? Get serious if you want to be treated as a genuine sports commentator.

          • Columnist

            April 14th 2017 @ 6:44am
            Tim Gore said | April 14th 2017 @ 6:44am | ! Report

            Bill, calm your farm big fella!
            It’s all going to be alright.
            When I say ” correct Joe” I’m agreeing with what Joe – a Storm supporter – said in defence of his men in purple.
            However Bill, you seem to still be assuming that conceding a penalty is a bad thing for a side in all instances, and that the Storm’s high concession date is proof they get the rough end of the pineapple.
            The only real bad penalty is one conceded late in the tackle count when your opponent is struggling to get out of their own half.
            Let me assure you that lots and lots of those penalties the Storm and Sharks concede were ones they were fine to concede, even wanted to concede.
            They were fine to concede many because they were conceded in slowing their opponents don’t, stopping their flow, controlling the game.
            A penalty conceded within your own 20, when the opposition has your defence looking ratty, actually buys time to reset the line, get the structure back in order and back your system to keep holding back the opposition, it’s actually a good thing to concede these.
            I worked this out back in 2013 – admittedly half a decade after sides really started doing it. http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-18/roosters-reaping-benefits-of-poor-discipline/4894862
            The problem with this tactic is that it is a negative and cynical one that stops free flowing footy and tries. That harms the game as a spectacle. This remedy is to use the sin bin for repeated offenders.
            Archer said he was going to this year. He hasn’t. Hollow words.
            The Storm and Sharks are the ones doing it this year the most. As the link I provided above shows, the culprits change from year to year. The tactic remains the same and low rent.
            It is absolutely your right to disagree with my expert status and question my credibility. Have at it. You are far from the first and won’t be the last, But I assure you I’m bang on the mark on this topic. And while others may be Storm bashing I’m just pointing out facts.

      • April 13th 2017 @ 2:13pm
        Albo said | April 13th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

        So spot on Uglykiwi ! With a lot of the teams being very close in ability, referee’s decisions determine many of the matches , through the officials’ subjective interpretations of a foul being committed and when and where they decide to blow the whistle ! Referees interpretations of a warranted penalty varies from the first 20 minutes of play to the last 20 minutes of play. All teams know this and look for an early advantage with the ball as penalties are more likely early on. If you can get a couple of back to back penalties and lay on a couple of quick tries, you can force your opponent into “catch up ” mode after 20 minutes ! Usual result is they then make more errors and end up with less ball and a likely thrashing on the scoreboard by fulltime, and often all brought about by a couple of early refereeing decisions on run of the mill rule infringements that are given one ruck and ignored at another ruck. I am sure a lot of this reflects the form reversals we see in teams performances from week to week. Whilst the deliberate giving away of penalties defending your own line is one thing, at least the refs are blowing penalties correctly. But I have a couple of other pet hates that I think are running rampant at present and influencing results – (1) The milking of penalties late in the tackle count & (2) the stripping of the ball early in the count. And some teams and some players are expert at getting away with it . Some tackled players are expert “milkers” thrashing around on the ground or continuing to walk/crawl/ push off the mark to grab themselves a “crowding” penalty. And for the early strip expertise, just watch JT follow a kick through to tackle the fullback/ winger bringing the ball back. The chances of that ball carrier losing the ball in the tackle due to his “poor ball security” are massively increased if JT is in that tackle. Similarly for tackles in the rucks where Cam Smith is involved.
        So I would love to see a clamp down on these dodgy decisions with “milkers” being penalised and known “strippers” being more closely watched and clamped down hard with penalties !

        • April 13th 2017 @ 2:48pm
          McNaulty said | April 13th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

          I agree with all of this. Additionally I would say that referees now appear to see themselves as opportunity creators. As in X hasn’t had an opportunity in opposition half for a while so I am looking to give them a penalty.

          Certainly more “opportunity in opposition half” is created by referee interpretation/penalty than it is by all of the play makers combined.

          Thats why we end up getting so upset by the refs. They are literally the most important player on the field.

          We need to reduce the impact of penalties. You shouldn’t get both a kick for such and a tackle count restart. A hold down penalty should just be advance 20metres. No tackle count restart. Likewise walking off the mark should be a penalty against the team with the ball resulting in a loss of 10 metres (but retain the ball, same tackle).

          A penalties in 30 metre red zone could just be player in bin for the set.

        • April 13th 2017 @ 3:27pm
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | April 13th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

          Agree completely Albo – milking has to be rubbed out of the game. Josh Dugan is a master at it – Justin Hodges used to do it in the past. I’ve seen Jack Wighton try it on a few times. Fifita does it all the time. It absolutely infuriates me. The refs have to see it for what it is and thankfully the good ones usually do. The game is tough enough as it is so I’ll be damned if milkers should be rewarded for putting on an act.

          Back to the deliberate penalties – red cards are usually only used in soccer in circumstances where a player has been taken out by a late tackle that endangers an opposition player. If you get two red cards in a match you’re out of the game. By all means consider using that in the NRL but a lot of the time penalties in NRL are blown for deliberate slowng down of the play the ball or being offside – not for unduly rough play. These are not deliberate malicious acts but are professional fouls used to slow down the opposition and help win a game. Perhaps a rule where after 3 penalties you’re off for 10 minutes or for the rest of the match might stamp out deliberate penalties. In basket ball after 5 personal fouls you’re out of the match.

      • April 13th 2017 @ 10:19pm
        John said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

        Fair call on the pink dress!
        On a serious note-Why is open handed striking at the face of an apposition player any different than a punch??
        Imagine our kindergarten teachers taking this approach. “Sorry Mrs Jones, little Eddie did give your son a black eye but I couldn’t reprimand him, you see, he didn’t use a closed fist, therefore it was wasn’t a punishable offence”

    • April 13th 2017 @ 9:48am
      Armchair expert said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Tim, your point played out last weekend in the Storm v Sharkes game, where Graham was hit off the ball by a blatant shoulder charge.
      It’s not just the on field refs, the bunker should have intervened.
      Me thinks Archer tells us one thing and tells his refs another. I don’t know how else that wasn’t acted upon.

      • Columnist

        April 13th 2017 @ 11:00am
        Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        Agreed.

      • April 13th 2017 @ 12:00pm
        spruce moose said | April 13th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        The irony is that if that happened in the middle of the park, during a tackle, the Sharks player would have stayed down and a penalty would have been issued.

        • April 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm
          Armchair expert said | April 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          And if it hadn’t have been 2-2 with less than 10 minutes to go, in a kickable spot.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 13th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Bunney said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Tim, that quote from the Bard of Avon is brilliant and bears repeating:

      “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

      I’m no Shakespeare fan, but that is pure gold. Never a truer word was spoken regarding NRL referee pronouncements!

      This has all been said before. Refs need to develop the chutzpah to use the bin and the send-off, their bosses need to grow a spine and back their men, even when they get it wrong (which they will), and the media and its followers need to wisen up to coaches attempts to distract everyone from their teams performance by going off about refereeing decisions.

      Refs need to be put back up on the mantle, and be reminded that they are the boss. No more touchy-feely. No more explaining decisions to whingy captains trying to soak up time. No more first name. No more putting up with BS. Blow the whistle. Blow it again. Like Pavlov’s dogs, it won’t take long for that whistle to change player behaviour.
      Sadly, I don’t think we’ll see it anytime soon.

      • Columnist

        April 13th 2017 @ 11:07am
        Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        I just want to make clear that I do not think that Tony Archer is an idiot BTW.

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2017 @ 9:44pm
          Stuart Thomas said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

          Your use of the quote suggests otherwise.

          • Columnist

            April 13th 2017 @ 10:02pm
            Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

            Certainly had that illusion.
            It was the whole quote. “The sound a fury, signifying nothing” was the key element.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 13th 2017 @ 10:13pm
          Bunney said | April 13th 2017 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

          Don’t back down Tim!

          I liked it better when I thought you meant it… 🙂

          • Columnist

            April 14th 2017 @ 6:56am
            Tim Gore said | April 14th 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

            Nah, I was uneasy about it from the start.

      • April 13th 2017 @ 5:16pm
        Kilgore Trout said | April 13th 2017 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

        Bunney brings it ! Shakespeare ‘n all .Until the referees are given their wheels back , and become reacquainted with what that feels like , it will keep going around in circles . And what a surprise …. the most penalised teams concede the fewest tries … Great article .

    • April 13th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Taree Raider said | April 13th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      Tim, about 12 months before the Bunker came in I sent an email to the NRL with the following idea to stop the incidence of the wrestle & other ruck stifling tactics.
      When a player is deemed to the tackled, the Ref calls out “TACKLED” The Ref counts to three 1,2,3. If the tackled player is not in a position to get up and play the ball it is a penalty. Can’t be any easier or clearer than that. The ruck would be cleared of defenders, everyone would be aware of what’s required & the game would be generally wrestle free.
      What do you think? The NRL didn’t think much of it. I didn’t get a reply.

      • Columnist

        April 13th 2017 @ 11:01am
        Tim Gore said | April 13th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        Not bad.
        Although you would get the hold down milkers.

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