Penrith prop Sam McKendry could be the latest NRL player in trouble for touching a referee after he made contact with Jared Maxwell in the Panthers’ 20-16 win over Sydney Roosters on Monday night.
McKendry touched Maxwell in the 71st minute of the Allianz Stadium fixture after the whistleblower controversially disallowed a try to Matt Moylan after ruling Tyrone Peachey threw the ball forward to the Panthers fullback.
The NRL have moved to crackdown on players making contact with the referee this season.
However Penrith captain Jamie Soward believes the NRL should apply “common sense” when dealing with McKendry’s case.
“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 has come with mixed success though.
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.