Refs can't catch all grapples: Finch - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Refs can't catch all grapples: Finch

By Todd Balym, Steve Jancetic and Laine Clark 18/09/2008 07:33:15 PM Comments (0)

Grapple tackles will continue to cast a shadow over the NRL finals series with referees' boss Robert Finch conceding whistleblowers can't penalise them all or rid the game of the tactic on their own.

The illegal wrestling tactics became a major talking point yet again when Warriors players accused Melbourne of choking tactics last Sunday and Finch admitted more penalties could have been blown in the spiteful game.

A summary of the NRL match review committee's findings this week showed 17 incidents of grapples or chicken wings across the four qualifying finals last weekend were investigated but no charges laid.

More concerning was the fact that of the 17 incidents, less than a quarter (four) of them were penalised by referees.

At least another five were rated as "could have been penalised."

"We penalised a fair few but we could have even penalised more (grapples) on the weekend," said Finch.

"We picked those up in our own debrief and everyone needs to understand that a referee doesn't have a view from 180 degrees as you get when you do a debrief from the video.

"The ones we didn't get weren't charged so they weren't of any dramatic nature. If someone was charged we would be a bit upset about it because we missed it but let me say we're very aware of grappling issues and if sides grapple again this week we will continue to penalise.

"We were given a mandate at the start of the year to crack down on player safety issues and 20 per cent of the total defensive penalties this year have been in that area.

"We have been very vigilant and penalised quite consistently across 27 weeks now and will continue to do so."

Shayne Hayne has been handed the whistle for Saturday's semi-final between Brisbane and Melbourne but statistics from his game shows he missed the most grapples last weekend.

Hayne blew just two penalties of the eight incidents investigated by the match review committee from the Manly-St George Illawarra clash with four more that should have been penalised.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy had no concern with Hayne or top referee Tony Archer, assigned to their game, and isn't concerned grappling continues to be an issue.

"That's Robert Finch's decision and that's his job. I am not about to tell Robert what his job is, he doesn't tell me what my job is," said Bellamy.

"(Grappling hype) is expected this time of year, we've been through it about three of four years and we are pretty much immune to it at this stage."

Warriors skipper Steve Price and Brent Tate both defended their side for whinging to the referee about Storm grapples last week, adding anybody else would do the same if put in the same situation.

"If anyone's grabbing you around the neck you're going to whinge," said Tate.

"I'm sure if we were doing the same thing they'd be getting up whinging."

Meanwhile Finch said the referees would not be baited into blowing more penalties this week due to the media hype surrounding grappling.

"We can't be listening to the media," said Finch.

"We can't solve the grapple issue on our own.

"We need support from coaches, the players and from the judiciary.

"Every club at the start of the year wanted it outlawed.

"Some clubs don't go near the head but some clubs do."

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