The referee contact by players controversy has taken another twist with North Queensland coach Paul Green claiming officials should also look where they are going.
Green said it was impossible to enforce a black-and-white rule banning players from touching referees and hoped “sanity prevailed” in the latest drama to hit the NRL.
Green agreed that players should not aggressively touch officials or approach them in an intimidating manner.
But he said accidental contact was going to happen and that referees in and around the ruck had to be mindful of their surroundings.
“The pocket ref is in and around the rucks quite often – he in particular has to be careful that he gets himself out of the way too,” he said.
“You’ve got more bodies in and around there (ruck).
“It’s more traffic and these big guys move quickly – occasionally accidental contact will happen.”
Kieran Foran is the latest player to earn the ire of the NRL match review committee for making contact with a referee.
Like Brisbane centre James Roberts last week, Foran can escape a ban if he takes the early guilty plea and will be available for the Easter Monday match with Wests Tigers.
The charge against Foran comes after Bulldogs firebrand David Klemmer was exonerated at the judiciary last week, after referee Ben Cummins gave evidence in his favour.
In the opening three rounds to date, six players including North Queensland’s Ethan Lowe have made contact with onfield officials but have escaped censure.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said last week that the NRL had given itself a black eye over their crackdown on the issue.
“If we keep a common sense approach about it hopefully sanity will prevail,” Green said of the referee contact by players issue.
“The whole idea is to show respect to the refs.
“You can’t challenge or talk to the refs in an intimidating manner.
“That’s what players have to remember.”
Meanwhile, Green named an unchanged team for Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match with the Broncos in Brisbane.
He confirmed last round’s 18th man Sam Hoare had sustained a season-ending knee injury.