Canterbury forwards James Graham and David Klemmer could have contrary conduct charges referred straight to the NRL judiciary as a result of the dramatic conclusion to South Sydney’s Good Friday victory.
Graham angrily remonstrated with referee Gerard Sutton when he awarded Souths a penalty, after the Bulldogs captain’s controversial tackle on Adam Reynolds.
Klemmer was sin-binned after crowding in on Sutton alongside Graham and yelling “You’re off your f****ing face,” at the lead referee.
With the NRL determined to come down hard on a worrying trend of increasing dissent towards match officials, both Graham and Klemmer are in the cross-hairs of the match review committee and could face a significant stint on the sidelines.
The committee can refer contrary conduct charges straight to the judiciary, as was the case with Manly’s Glenn Stewart and Melbourne’s Adam Blair after the Battle of Brookvale in 2011.
The highest contrary conduct charge, a grade five, carries a 525-demerit point penalty and a five-game ban.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg indicated on Saturday on Triple M that the NRL match review committee, headed up by Michael Buettner along with Brad Clyde, Michael Hodgson and Peter Louis, would view the incidents very closely.
“I don’t want to talk specifically about the incidents because they will form part of our match committee review but, in general terms, the behaviour of players on the field is something we will look very closely at,” Greenberg said.
“Swearing at match officials is not acceptable and I put a full stop on that sentence, because it is really not acceptable.
“I know our match review (committee) will look closely at those incidents.
“There are requirements under the code, things like contrary conduct and detrimental conduct which will all form part of that review and, if there are penalties that need to be imposed, I expect the match review (committee) will discharge their duties accordingly.”
The NRL introduced new measures last season as to how and when captains could talk to referees.
Former Bulldogs chief executive Greenberg again indicated that would be monitored closely.
“James is the captain so he has the right to talk to him (Sutton) at certain parts during the game, but there were episodes in last night’s game that caused me some concern,” Greenberg said.
“And that will form part of the review but it goes to a broader point – match officials need to be held with a much greater level of respect within the game.”
Bulldogs fullback Brett Morris will also come under scrutiny from the match review committee after being placed on report for appearing to kick Souths hooker Issac Luke in the head as he scored a try just before halftime at ANZ Stadium.