Canterbury star Moses Mbye has revealed his side were warned about the NRL’s latest crackdown on touching referees, with only accidental contact to avoid punishment.
Mbye’s comments come ahead of St George Illawarra forward Tyson Frizell’s date with the judiciary on Tuesday night, where he’ll fight a controversial one-game ban from Friday’s loss to the Bulldogs.
Many have ridiculed the grade-one charge the match review committee levelled at Frizell, who was pinged for making light contact with official Chris James as he headed back to the defensive line.
Mbye felt for Frizell but said “rules are rules”.
“We were briefed about it during the week last week, that it’s the rule. You can’t touch the referee and he touched the referee,” Mbye said on Tuesday.
“All you gotta do is open the rule book and just look at the rule and say he touched him, he’s out for the week. It’s written down in the rule book.”
The Bulldogs No.7 admitted sometimes players aren’t aware of where referees are on-field.
“I’m lucky, I get to stay a little bit wide,” he said.
“But where Tyson was, he was in the middle there and it’s one of those things – it’s unfortunate. By the look of it, there was no malice and he didn’t mean to but he did touch him.”
Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen is the latest to condemn the charge, labelling it “ridiculous”.
“I’m hoping it lasts five minutes,” Gallen told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“I hope they go in and do the formalities and it’s thrown out. That’s ridiculous.
“He put his hand up in a polite manner to go past him as you would in a shopping centre or if you’re walking across the street as someone is about to run into you. It was done in a polite manner.”
In contrast, Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds has escaped suspension after taking the early guilty plea for a tripping charge that denied Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson a try in the same game.
Mbye said the trip was worth it.
“(Reynolds) would’ve been a massive loss. Unfortunately the old trip or whatever it was, it saved us a try in the end. So it was worth it, wasn’t it?” he said.