Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has pleaded for consistency from the game’s rule makers in their ‘confusing’ crackdown on the play-the-ball.
The Storm were penalised a number of times for play-the-ball infringements in their 20-0 trial loss to Canterbury at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night while in possession of the Steeden.
Bellamy insisted he agreed with the crackdown, but wanted it to be across the board.
“It is a little bit confusing at times,” he said.
“But having said that, it is a thing that basically got ignored last year and the referees agreed to that, people were just rolling the ball last year and a couple of teams in particular were just rolling the footy.
“To change it this year it is a pretty big difference to what the players were getting away with last year.”
The game’s rulemakers have been accused of willy-nilly crackdowns in recent years. Moves on the shoulder charge last year are a case in point.
“They (penalties) can be very, very big momentum turners in a game when on the first or second tackle, it is a bad play the ball and it is 20 metres out from your line, that is a huge penalty,” Bellamy said.
“I agree with trying to clean up that area as long as it is consistent between games and consistent between referees I have no problem with it.”
The NRL instituted the play-the-ball crackdown in the pre-season. A decision will be made if it is to continue in the season proper before the NRL opener between Parramatta and Brisbane.