Eels captain Clint Gutherson has asked the NRL for some clarity surrounding a pair of controversial captain’s challenges in crucial moments of their tight victory over the Titans.
Although Parramatta held on, players committing cynical professional fouls in a bid to stop play and go back and look at a captain’s challenge became a focal point.
On both occasions, including Patrick Herbert deliberately holding down Dylan Brown, the Titans scored in their next set and Gutherson voiced his confusion, explaining he was not a fan of the tactic.
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“It was a bit weird. I remember watching a game last week and the ref said you can only challenge the last play, the penalty, not the play before. The ref said that to the captain. It happened to us twice, pretty crucial, they scored off the back of both of them. It’s pretty inconsistent,” Gutherson said in the post-match press conference.
“Last week the ref did say you can only challenge the last play on the field. He (Gough) didn’t really communicate what was the go there. I’d like a bit of clarity going into the next couple of weeks.”
NRL head of football Graham Annesley warned players could be sin binned for cynical infringements forcing a captain’s challenge only a week ago.
“A team can’t try to create a stoppage in order to challenge something that has previously been missed,” Annesley said.
But referee Peter Gough warned of a sin bin only if the challenge was dismissed, leaving coach Brad Arthur unhappy.
“I’m not happy about it. I don’t know if deliberately giving away penalties is good for us,” Arthur said.
After leading 20-0 46 minutes into the encounter the Titans fought back, helped by the sin binning of Eels prop Junior Paulo.
The strong hit on Titans playmaker AJ Brimson has been a contentious topic and Brad Arthur was again unhappy with the ruling.
“My job is to teach these players how to tackle. What do I say to Junior? He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I need to watch it and slow it down, but Junior has worked hard on his target area and we’re not a team that wants to give away penalties,” Arthur said.
The Eels came away 26-20 victors, with both Gutherson and halfback Mitch Moses steering their side to a win.
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