Bennett puts grapple tackle heat on refs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett puts grapple tackle heat on refs

By Todd Balym 12/03/2009 06:38:03 PM Comments (0)

Master coach Wayne Bennett has put the heat on referees, declaring players will take the grapple tackle issue into their own hands if the whistleblowers don't step up to the plate this year.

Bennett said while clubs were more aware of grapple tackles this year he didn't believe the dual referee system was making any difference in the policing of the tactics.

He's called for referees to take a stronger stance when the NRL kicks off on Friday with his St George Illawarra Dragons facing Melbourne at Olympic Park.

"The league has assured us that the grapple has gone, I have got to believe in our chief executive," said Bennett.

"I saw him publicly come out and talk about it so I've got to believe the people he has appointed to make the decisions are capable of doing that.

"If he doesn't then he is going to have the problem he had last year towards the end of the season and players will take it into their own hands.

"Certainly the players have shown they're prepared to do that.

"David (Gallop) has come out and made all the statements and his officials have now got to back him up."

Bennett said he wasn't happy with how the two referees enforced the ruck during the Dragons' Charity Shield loss to South Sydney two weeks ago and believes the jury is still out on whether the system will work.

"I don't think they have improved it at all," he said.

"I'm a bit surprised actually. I thought they would have been. Particularly in the South Sydney game, they missed a lot of it.

"I think everybody is conscious of it and it hasn't been perfect.

"We haven't been perfect either. We had a couple of issues there.

"My players understand my position on it. If they do what is against the rules and spirit of the game then I'm not going to stick up for them.

"They know I don't coach it, they know it's not been taught here and know my position on it. They don't want to be stupid and do silly things.

"I'm not going to stand them down ... but if they get penalised in the game or find themselves before the judiciary and they deserve to be there then I will accept the guilty plea and the punishment that goes with it."

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