The North Queensland Cowboys won’t be losing sleep over Melbourne’s controversial wrestling tactics and will be happy to let referees determine how much is too much.
Cowboys football manager Peter Parr says the coaching staff won’t be seeking a meeting with NRL referees boss Tony Archer for clarification ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final at AAMI Park.
“We’re not too worried about it,” Parr told AAP.
“We’ll let the refs do their job, hopefully.
“I don’t think they need any extra help from us, there’s a lot of people already talking about it.”
The issue flared up once again following the Storm’s qualifying final win two weeks ago, when Roosters coach Trent Robinson claimed referees were more lenient about wrestling during the finals.
If Melbourne are able to slow down the Cowboys at the ruck, it could go a long way towards shutting down North Queensland’s free-wheeling attack and booking a grand final spot.
North Queensland star James Taumalolo isn’t expecting any favours from match officials.
“If the refs see it, they see it,” Taumalolo told AAP.
“At the end of the day it comes down to us as players wanting the quick play-the-ball and trying not to get stuck in positions where we can get wrestled.
“We know they love their wrestling, slowing down the ruck. They have a lot of wrestling coaches and that.
“But as long as it’s not illegal, nothing around the head – we’re fine with that. That’s how football’s played.
“I’m sure on Saturday nothing will change with how Melbourne Storm play. It’ll be a tough grinding game.”
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy last week described criticism of his side’s style of play as “agenda setting” from the two Queensland sides.
NRL history has generally shown that the more a contentious rule is talked about in the lead-up to a game, the sharper the focus on the issue from referees come game day.
“That’s the style of footy they’ve played for a long time,” Taumalolo’s second-row partner Gavin Cooper told Big Sports Breakfast.
“It’s all just how the refs will interpret it on the night.
“We just can’t do anything different to what we did on the weekend.
“If we catch the ball and run hard, footy’s a pretty simple game – that will put you in good stead.”