Smith no fan of latest rule changes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith no fan of latest rule changes

Joe Barton 13/02/2011 07:39:57 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith believes the latest rules crackdown will need some major tweaking before the NRL season starts next month.

The Roosters' 24-22 trial loss to the Bulldogs at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday night was peppered with penalties for play the ball infringements and scrum infractions for players not binding properly.

Referees coach Bill Harrigan had warned clubs that whistlebowers would attempt to clean up the play-the-ball by penalising players who moved off the mark or failed to play the ball with their foot.

Smith was enraged by a scrum penalty decision which saw Jonathan Wright score when the Bulldogs were allowed to take a quick tap close to the Roosters' line.

Wright was able to stroll to the tryline untouched while the Roosters forward pack were still removing themselves from the scrum.

"I think we found one thing tonight that there will be a very quick review on, that's the idea that you can take a quick tap once the mark (is set)," Smith said.

"We'll either have no penalties for players being inside the ten off scrums or we'll have a review on that decision about whether they're going to let guys just run up (and take the tap).

"That's just a walk-in try. The only way you can defend that is to tackle the bloke offside, and that's going to be a sin bin straight away.

"There's just no way to defend that when the referee decides that someone is offside."

The Roosters also paid heavily for play-the-ball infringements, though Smith admitted he had to take some of the blame, revealing he had not informed his players of the referees' directive.

"We took the attitude that we didn't actually talk to our players about the latest refereeing edicts and their decision making processes, we wanted our guys to learn the tough way," he said.

"Part of my thinking about that was we wanted to find out, because we've heard it all before and sometimes the referees only do it for a little while and they dropoff."

Smith said the play-the-ball would now become a focus at Roosters training.

"It's a massive momentum change (to give away a penalty in possession)," he said.

"I'll take Billy Harrigan at his word, he says they're going to stick with those things, and I'm not sure that they will but we'll see."

Second rower Anthony Cherrington, making his return from a right knee injury which ruined his 2010 campaign, is likely to have it confirmed on Monday that his 2011 season is over after suffering a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"(Backrower) Daniel Conn was the one who just said to me `Smithy, it's just not fair is it?'" Smith said.

"It's tough, very tough.

"He (Cherrington) is distressed a bit ... he's a positive sort of bloke but it would test anybody."

In other NRL trials played on Saturday night, Brisbane youngster Ben Hunt proved he would be a more than handy back-up for first-choice halves Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace with a polished display in the Broncos' 42-18 win over Gold Coast in Wynnum.

With both sides heavily depleted by the All Stars clash, it was left to the likes of Hunt, Corey Norman and centre Dale Copley - who scored a double - to shine at Kougari Oval.

With international pair Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh amongst a host of absentees for Parramatta, the Eels were no match for the Warriors, going down 24-4 in Rotorua.

Former Eel Krisnan Inu and Manu Vatuvei were amongst the tryscorers for the home side, Vatuvei making a triumphant return from a broken arm suffered in last year's Four Nations tournament.

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