There seems to be an element of so called ‘playacting’ creeping into the game of rugby league at present.
From milking penalties to calling for cards to be given to the opposition, Super League and the rest of the sport in general would be a lot better without such issues.
For St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf, that issue of playacting shot to the forefront when St Helens star Sione Mata’utia was brandished a red card in Saints’ 25-0 win over Huddersfield Giants last week.
Mata’utia went to pick up Danny Levi off the floor with the former believing that the latter was playing for a penalty.
Unfortunately for Mata’utia, the referee took a dim view of the situation and sent Mata’utia off – something which Woolf has no qualms with.
“If I talk through the whole situation and the red card, I’ve got no dramas with the fact there is a card there,” Woolf said.
“I can certainly appreciate where we are going with that. The MRP (Match Review Panel) has been consistent with the way they have charged them this year, so we felt there was consistency there, there are no complaints whatsoever and Sione learns a valuable lesson.
“Sione has to control his emotions in those situations, but we need to be better as a game, we need consistency in how we will deal with those things on the field.”
Woolf does, however, feel greater consistency needs to be applied on the field.
“That is the first red card in the competition for that, so Sione has been dealt a harsher blow and that needs to come into consideration.
“How I look at games over the past few weeks, there was serious foul play against catalans that got a yellow. We had a serious foul play in the Good Friday clash that got a yellow card but then a six-week ban after. We’re just not getting the consistency there at the moment.”
The Saints boss also wants to see a greater clampdown of playacting and milking penalties.
“We’ve got to have a look at how we get situations out of our game – that is playacting to try and get results especially on tv games.
“He (Sione) knows there is no foul play and the player is playing for a penalty and that is frustrating the players.
“We need to look at how we get that out of our game. It is an unnecessary stoppage. I’m not condoning Sione’s actions but the reality is, the person who is trying to bend the rules leads to that situation and gets rewarded for that and that’s not what we want to see.”