Des Hasler has slammed referee Ben Cummins for a lopsided penalty count in his side’s loss to the Knights, and took aim at the NRL’s crackdown after he had two players sent to the sin bin on a day of grossly inconsistent rulings.
The Knights were awarded the first nine penalties of the game, and it wasn’t until the final minute that the Sea Eagles received their first when David Klemmer was sent to the sin bin for a high shot on debutant Ben Trbojevic.
“I can accept ill-discipline in parts and we’ll categorise that,” Hasler said.
“First of all I though we defended pretty well. The 18 points against us doesn’t do justice to the game. You were all witnesses; you all saw what happened out there.
“We ran into a sizeable breeze in the first half so from a defensive point of view we were called up on to do quite a bit of D.
“But it’s very difficult with a 9-0 penalty count. I think we got our first penalty in the last 11 seconds.
“Benny Cummins is a much better referee than that. A much better referee than that. First of all there’s an issue there, the fact we couldn’t buy some retribution as far as field position was concerned.”
Des Hasler is the latest coach to voice his scepticism of the NRL’s crackdown on high contact. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne).Source:AAP
While irked by the penalty count, Hasler was mortified with the sin bin interpretations after he lost Sean Keppie and Martin Taupau for 10 minutes, while Tyson Frizell remained on the field for a high shot on Taupau.
The Keppie decision was a no-brainer, but the inconsistencies of the other tackles were glaring, with the Bunker intervening to take play back 50 metres to send Taupau to the bin for a tackle that was penalty sufficient at most.
“Let’s go to the sin bins. I don’t quite understand the rule about the sin bin,” Hasler said.
“Our player was attacked to the head, on report, 10 minutes. But Marty, when he was carrying the ball, he got hit high, so to come in contact with the head – forceful contact with the head – that’s a sin bin and they didn’t get sent to the sin bin.
“That’s not a whinge or a reflection on Newcastle. It’s a reflection on the inconsistency in regard to that rule.
“Well done to Newcastle, they got the two points, but they were ably assisted, let’s be honest in relation to that.
“When we go back and Marty got hit high there was no review of it, no going back to it. He wasn’t right. There was some indication, some cause there and no sin binning.
“Not that I’m calling for that but if we’re going to go down that track, we need to be consistent about it.”
Hasler conceded his side didn’t help themselves in the discipline department as they squandered a 10-0 lead, but he says the NRL has plenty to think about as it deals with another controversial afternoon that overshadowed a quality game of footy.
“That’s up to the officiating party,” he said.
“I know Graeme Annesley will be watching and he’ll have another sleepless night tonight and he’ll wake up with a headache in the morning. Games are tight, games are hard to win and if that’s the way we’re going to go we need that consistency.
“That’s the path they’ve chosen, they’ve just got to find a way out with the consistency. We need to do something about (high shots) but I didn’t think it was consistent today.”
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