Penrith prop Sam McKendry is facing a one-match NRL ban for contact on referee Jared Maxwell during his side’s win over the Sydney Roosters on Monday night.
McKendry was handed a grade one contrary conduct charge on Tuesday and will miss Sunday’s fixture against Cronulla unless he successfully fights his case at the judiciary.
Roosters forward Isaac Liu will cop a one-match ban for a crusher tackle on Panthers prop Leilani Latu in the same game if he takes the early guilty plea.
The NRL has cracked down on players making physical contact with referees in matches this season.
However Penrith five-eighth Jamie Soward believes the NRL should apply “common sense” when dealing with McKendry’s case.
The prop put the back of his hand on Maxwell’s chest to draw his attention after the referee denied Panthers captain Matt Moylan a try late in the match.
“If you don’t do it in an aggressive manner and you’re not trying to make anything of it then sometimes common sense needs to be used,” Soward told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“You (should) get a warning and a small fine and move on.
“Sometimes the referees … are a little bit close to the action at times and you just forget and you think you’re talking to your mate.”
The crackdown on contact on referees has come with mixed success.
Canterbury forward David Klemmer was found not guilty of making illegal contact with referee Ben Cummins in the round two win over Penrith.
That verdict came after grand final whistleblower Cummins seemingly broke ranks with the NRL to give evidence favourable to Klemmer.
Parramatta captain Kieran Foran pled guilty to a contrary conduct charge earlier this season but didn’t miss a game.
Panthers backrower Trent Merrin was one of a handful of players who have made contact with referees but escaped censure from the NRL match review committee.
Newcastle forward Pauli Pauli has taken the early guilty plea for his high tackle on Brisbane’s Joe Ofahengaue and will miss Sunday’s match against Manly.