McDermott: Players obsessed with winning penalties

Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott says that chaos around the ruck area is destroying rugby league and referees must be stronger to stop players milking penalties.

McDermott was furious following his sides 38-26 victory against Hull last night, a match that was dominated by the whistle of referee James Child.

The Rhinos boss was particularly angry with what he described as the “embarrassing” antics of certain players trying to win penalties around the ruck area.

During the second half, Hull forward Danny Washbrook purposely let go of the ball on the back of a Leeds defender in order to win his side a penalty, an incident that infuriated McDermott.

“I can’t get across how damaging that is to the game,” he said. “There are certain players in the game who just play for penalties and it’s embarrassing, but the referee invariably gives it.

“Lack of clarity around the ruck has been a problem in our game for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It has been a real blight on the game for the last four or five years.”

Despite the antics of the players, McDermott says the referees are the ones who hold the power to tidy up the most problematic area in our game.

“The way to stop it is for the referees not to wilt and not award the penalty, because the more he wiggles about on the floor the more time he is wasting trying to play it quick.

“There isn’t an attempt from players in our game to play the ball quick, their attempt is to wiggle about on the floor and win a penlty.

“Certain players sole aim is to win their team a penalty, Hull have got a couple. Whether it’s a bad strategy I’m not sure.

“We’re in a winning industry and you’ve got to win and if that’s a way to win Challenge Cups then I’m not sure. It’s not doing the game good though.”