Paul Gallen claims all-in scuffles are a worse look for the NRL than two players punching, and offenders should be condemned to the sin bin.
The veteran forward expressed the strong opinion after he was involved in a major scuffle during Cronulla’s physical 37-12 win over the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.
Roosters captain Jake Friend slapped Gallen on the back of the head, then stood over him, after the Sharks skipper had turned the ball over in a testy first half.
Gallen took exception to the goading, getting up and slamming Friend to the ground, which instigated yet another all-in melee that has plagued the competition since punching resulted in an automatic sin-bin in the wake of the former NSW skipper’s haymaker on Queensland’s Nate Myles during the 2013 State of Origin series.
His comments come in the same week teammate Andrew Fifita said he would gladly cop a punch to the chin if it meant he could coax a jab from an opposition player.
Gallen said it wasn’t the niggle that has become a blight on the game, but the amount of players rushing in afterwards that caused a bigger stain on the on-field product.
“It’s a worse look … players coming in pushing and shoving, than a couple of blokes throwing punches. I think those who want to run in from 20-30 metres away should be sent to the sin bin,” he said.
Eventually penalised for his act of retribution on Saturday night, Gallen also conceded that he should have kept his cool and not retaliated against the Roosters hooker.
“He stood over me like he was seven-foot tall. I’ve never taken a backward step and neither has he. It’s frustrating because we all know we can’t do anything about it anymore,” he said.
“But I’ve probably got to keep my head a little bit more there. It’s a bit hard because I’ve never a backward step and I don’t intend to. But we got the win, that’s all that matters.”