He’s one of the most-penalised players in the NRL but Gold Coast’s Ryan James won’t be changing his style of play for anyone.
A week after being charged for a high tackle that left Wests Tigers’ fullback James Tedesco with a broken jaw, James was embroiled in controversy again last Saturday.
Penrith coach Anthony Griffin was livid despite his team’s 15-14 win at Robina, with front-rower Reagan Campbell-Gillard suffering a back fracture when James was the third man in a tackle midway through the second-half.
James says being labelled dirty by outraged fans or commentators doesn’t faze him.
“People like to sit behind keyboards and write what they want,” he said.
“It doesn’t really bother me. I guess it’s just angry fans.
“There’s not much you can do about that, just stick to your game.
“It was a normal tackle and there’s 15 of those in a game. It’s just very unfortunate he got injured and there’s just not much you can do about it.”
James has conceded 25 penalties this year according to NRL.com statistics, with only Cronulla pair Michael Ennis (28) and James Maloney (27) giving away more in 2016.
Titans coach Neil Henry has admitted James’s run-ins with referees are a concern, especially with Gold Coast heading into a crucial match against North Queensland this Saturday.
Nothing less than a win over the Cowboys in Townsville can give the Titans any chance of making the finals.
James says he’ll be wary to keep himself out of trouble in the ruck against the premiers as he aims to take Gold Coast into the finals for the first time since 2010.
“I’ve been wanting to play semi-finals footy for a long time,” the 25-year-old said.
“We’ve been against the best this year and beaten them. We’ve been in some tight games and lost by a point or two.
“We definitely know we can go up there and mix it with them.”