‘Milking’ penalties has become a topic for discussion in rugby league recently.
Even in Super League it’s made headlines in 2022 with plenty of coaches such as Wigan Warriors’ Matt Peet and Huddersfield Giants’ Ian Watson have called for measures to stamp it out of the game.
Of course incidents like Chris Hill’s yellow card against Leeds where Richie Myler was accused of milking the situation to get a penalty and Sam Tomkins’ recent altercation with Matt Prior in the play-offs are recent examples which have divided opinion around ‘gamesmanship’ but players certainly are being accused of ‘milking’ penalties more often whether that’s fair or not.
However, NRL star Aaron Woods has come out and said player 100% milk penalties after South Sydney and Sydney Roosters’ fiery play-off clash which saw seven yellow cards shown – an NRL record – and three players lost to failed head injury assessments.
Woods claimed that South Sydney players such as Cameron Murray milked penalties and didn’t push against the narrative that Sydney Roosters lost the game because of their unwillingness to do the same saying on Fox League: “Yeah 100 per cent. Players always do it [milk penalties].
“I’m a massive Cameron Murray fan, love him to death but you’re telling me he didn’t stay down trying to get that penalty on the bottom of the posts?
“Knowing there had been so many sin bins already in that game and that it was JWH who is a main offender and (Murray) knows if a ref sees him in a tackle he’s obviously going to check it.
“Robbo [Sydney coach Trent Robinson] is probably happy, yeah they got beat but he can say ‘We didn’t do what other teams do, we stuck to our standards and our culture at the Roosters’. Their integrity wouldn’t be questioned.
“Honestly, you look at the Roosters, I’ve played against them – they’re a physical side – they’re a nice and direct type of team and they don’t stay down.”
The St George prop also offered a solution: “What I hate is when players get hit high or there’s a little bit of contact up high, they stay down.
“It’s not until they can hear the ref start to blow time off or there’s a penalty, and then they’re playing on again, six-again straight away.
“For me, if you lay down you’re straight off for HIA – 15 minutes off the field. Any time someone tries to lay down thinking they’re trying to milk something, just take them off and it’ll stop players from doing it.”
So, is this something both the NRL and Super League should consider, a HIA for any player who stays down? It would be controversial but it certainly could stamp out any milking of penalties.