It was one of the most spiteful games that any NRL fan would have watched in some time, and even though he was on the receiving end of one such incident – Dragons utility back Jason Nightingale wants referees to follow the lenient policy used in State of Origin games.
There were 3 players struck in the head by swinging arms, with only Tigers forward Adam Blair being put on report – despite Robbie Farah, Trent Merrin and Jeremy Latimore all to come under scrutiny from the NRL match review committee.
Nightingale made a comparison to refereeing in Origin, where the whistleblowers are not as strict when it comes to the aggressive nature of the play.
“It was consistent throughout the game and that’s what you really want to see happen,” Nightingale said.
“It’s OK if it goes both ways. It happened a lot and it didn’t get pulled up.
“I think it’s great for referees to let that stuff go and allow the players to show a bit of commitment.
“You look at State of Origin – compare it to that. I don’t think any players were too angry about what happened.
“I wouldn’t like to see anyone suspended. I wouldn’t be filthy if no one was charged.”
With the possibility of more backlash set to come from Friday night’s clash, NRL referees boss Bill Harrigan is not making any comments on the incidents themselves – but says the advantage comes with an extra interchange for an injured player in that situation.
“When you’ve only got 10 interchanges, a free one is a fairly significant thing, so referees need to be completely sure when they’re placing players on report,” Harrigan said. “You could end up getting 13 and 14 interchanges and that would be a huge advantage.”