Wayne Bennett says agrees with an NRL referees crackdown on players consistently breaking the rules.Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has urged the NRL not to blink as it tries to erase the bad habits that have crept into the game over the last three years.
Referees were under the gun on Friday night when 33 penalties were blown in Cronulla’s stop-start defeat of Melbourne that saw both Luke Lewis and Cameron Smith sin-binned.
But Bennett has backed the clamp down and says if his players break the rules against Gold Coast on Sunday they deserve to cop the consequences.
“It’s for the officials to decide and they’ve made a decision they’re going to clean up the play the ball and 10-metre area and I’m a fan of it because it’s going to give us a better game,” Bennett said.
“All we are trying to do is give the game back to the fans, that’s the way I see it.
“We’re in this state at the moment because the last three or four years there have been a lot of things let go.
“If the game blinks, well the coaches will be back in control but if the game stays strong, well we’re going to have to make sure our players are adhering to the rules.”
Bennett doesn’t expect a repeat of what transpired on Friday night against the Titans at Suncorp Stadium.
But he says it’s on him and his fellow coaches to tidy their teams up.
“The coaches in the end will get it under control; we got it out of control we’ll get it under control,” he said.
“If that’s the way the game goes, I don’t think it will be, and we’re breaking the rules then I understand the consequences.
“That’s all they’re doing, just enforcing the rules, they haven’t made any new ones.”
The Titans were embarrassed 54-8 by St George Illawarra last weekend and were trounced 54-0 by the Broncos in their last meeting.
Gold Coast current rank last in points, tries and line-breaks conceded, while also missing a league-high 40.3 tackles and 13.3 offloads per game.
Brisbane’s outside centres, particularly former Titan James Roberts, will rightfully be licking their lips despite Bennett expecting stiffer resistance this weekend.
“They’ll be trying to get some respect back,” Bennett said.
“We had that happen to us a couple of weeks ago (against the Dragons in the opening round) and I’m pretty confident of the mood they’ll turn up in.
“It won’t be hard for them to be motivated, they’re always a danger and trying to redeem some credibility after what happened last week.”
STATS THAT MATTER
– Brisbane has its best record of any current team against the Titans, winning 18 of 23 matches against them (78.3 per cent), including the last eight and 15 of the last 17.
– The Broncos are being awarded the fewest penalties (6.3) this season.
– Gold Coast has lost their past five away games and failed to score more than 16 points in any of them.