NRL must stand firm on fighters: Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL must stand firm on fighters: Bennett

Steve Jancetic 28/08/2011 07:04:51 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett says the NRL can't afford to sweep Friday night's wild brawl under the carpet and the protagonists must be made accountable.

The build-up to the last round of the regular season is set to be focused on NRL headquarters as a host of players from Manly and expected minor premiers Melbourne sweat on findings from the match review committee.

The Brookvale Oval stoush - instigated by Glenn Stewart and Adam Blair when they traded blows as they made their way to the sin bin - is threatening to derail the playoff hopes of both sides, with that pair plus a host of others facing potentially lengthy suspensions.

Despite the impact on the leading sides, Bennett said the NRL could not turn a blind eye to the ugly scenes.

"I think the game has probably recognised in the last 24-48 hours that it's not the look we want," Bennett said.

"Emotions run over but the important thing is how we handle it and the administrators realise they've got to address it and not sweep it under the carpet."

While there has been criticism from some quarters about the way referees Gavin Badger and Shayne Hayne handled the situation, believing they should have waited for Stewart to be up the tunnel before sending Blair to the bin, Bennett was having none of it.

"The one person I won't cop (getting) the blame for it is the referees," he said.

"If guys want to fight, it doesn't matter how you send them off or what you do with them, they've got to be accountable, you just can't keep blaming someone else."

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