Eels legend Peter Sterling has urged officials to not go overboard when it comes to sin bins and penalties.
Eels legend Peter Sterling has urged officials to not go overboard when it comes to sin bins and penalties, despite backing the serious attitude the game’s decision-makers are displaying towards head injuries and dangerous contact.
“I know that player welfare and safety is paramount – and as an ex-player, I’m especially cognisant of that and supportive of that,” he said on this week’s Sterlo’s Wrap.
Sterling said that ongoing concussion issues were very much at the forefront of conversations, and rightfully so – but that he was worried that referees were starting to become too eager to cite players.
“I think our officials are starting to get a little bit trigger happy,” he said, making reference to an incident in the final game of the round which saw Josh Curran sin binned for the Warriors.
The 21-year-old was sent to the bin for his contact on Storm winger George Jennings, who was taken from the field and eventually failed a head injury assessment.
“I look at that and I don’t see anything illegal, I don’t see anything wrong in that at all,” Sterling said.
“Our game is a game of collisions – and once we start, and I don’t like the word, but if we start to sanitise the collisions in our game, we take away what makes us the most demanding, confronting, aggressive sport that there is – and that’s the greatest attraction.”
Sterling said the decision to send Curran from the field for ten minutes all but ended the match as a contest.
With Curran off the field, the Storm extended their lead and scored another try as he was returning to the action. Melbourne would win comfortably in the end, 42-20.
“You give the Melbourne Storm 10/12 points and a 12-man defensive line, I don’t think any team is going to Melbourne and going to win. So I think effectively the Warriors were out of that game at that moment.”
Sterling said that there had been no malice or intent in Curran’s actions, and that incidental contact had to be factored into decision-making by referees and the judiciary.
“We are going to get players hurt accidentally, and that’s our game,” Sterling said.
“I just think we’ve got to be really careful here in regards to the conversation around the game at the moment, and the action from officials that is being taken.”
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