Sydney Roosters players have launched a passionate defence of embattled coach Trent Robinson and his crusade to stop players he believes lie down to milk penalties.
Roosters forwards Aidan Guerra, Dylan Napa, Sam Moa and Kane Evans lined up on Thursday to throw their support behind Robinson, who was this week fined $40,000 by the NRL for his criticism of the officials in the wake of their Anzac Day loss to St George Illawarra.
Robinson also took a shot at Dragons players he claimed stayed down feigning injuries in the hope that the bunker would intervene and award a penalty.
A fired-up Guerra said anyone who stayed on the ground was a blight on rugby league.
“As players under him, we stand by him, he came down, he said what he said, we’ve got to leave that where he is,” Guerra said.
“But he’s our leader, he’s our figurehead and we’re behind him.”
In a memorable press conference, Guerra said the issue had become so heated because the integrity of the game was brought into question.
Guerra supported any player who stays down for an extended period to be forced to leave the field for a health check in an attempt to dissuade milking.
“We’ve got to look at the reflection it has on our sport, it’s a tough game, you’re going to cop knocks, you look at the great players that have come before us, they didn’t lie down,” Guerra said.
“They kept going on and that’s the reason why it’s the sport that it is today.”
Asked if he would step in and say something if a teammate was lying down, Guerra said: “100 per cent, they’d get a spray on the spot and all week.”