Milking penalties “not good enough” according to St Helens legend James Graham as he offers extreme solution

Milking penalties has been a topic for debate in rugby league recently on both sides of the planet, and with a World Cup on the horizon now more than ever the issue needs to be dealt with prior to the showcase of our sport.

But how do we deal with an issue that exists within a grey area where it’s impossible to tell if players are milking penalties or if they’re actually hurt.

Well St George Illawarra Dragons prop Aaron Woods offered up a solution after the controversial game between Sydney and Souths: “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.

“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.”

A bold idea, one that could certainly work but a former Super League and NRL star has gone even further than this in former St Helens man James Graham who has called for a more extreme response on Fox League: “The NRL set the environment, so there’s a couple of ways they can go about this.

“They just completely ignore it or embarrass them into submission and I don’t mean make them leave the field of play, I mean if you’ve got a problem with your neck, hey we’re not doctors but we’re going to air on the side of caution, we’re going to bring the stretcher out for you and the neck brace, lie down you’ve got a neck injury.

“You’ll embarrass them into submission, and it’s not good enough. Don’t let them have a penalty for it. It happens in football in soccer, they started to penalise simulation. You can’t do that in rugby league. If the flow of the game is happening and the referee doesn’t see it, you’ve just got to accept they are going to miss things.”

Graham then believes you can embarrass the problem into submission, in a similar way to Aaron Woods but bringing on a stretcher every time something like that happened would be quite time consuming but is this the way forward?

Graham certainly takes these injuries seriously as well starting a new podcast called Head Noise to show the effects of concussion.

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