No place for punching in rugby league, says Phil Clarke

No place for punching in rugby league, says Phil Clarke

Does the referee need to show the red card when punches are thrown in a game of rugby league? YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! I can't be any clearer.

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Comments (5)

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Ian Silver says...

About the Joe Wardle incident ,the decision to send him off was correct not only was he wrong he was stupid throwing punches while on camera etc. Then on he other hand had the referee been doing his job at the tackle immediately before the incident Ablett deliberately kneed Wardle four times in the head which was ignored by the touch judges the referee and the camera man and the match review panel.This is not meant as a defence for Wardle his offence was punished and rightly so but had the ref penalised Abletts offence the Wardle incident would probably never have occurred.I have watched the incident several times and I am 100% confident this is correct.

Posted 10:44 2nd June 2013

Geoffrey Joseph says...

I recently saw a film of Great Britain v Australia test matches of the 1960's and 1970's and it was more like war than sport, with one fight after another. There were gasps from all round the room at the way players were allowed to get away with just a warning from the referee. Afterwards some old timers told me that it was a man's game in those days and they didn't watch Rugby League nowadays as its too soft and they "did it in the open then" (punching presumably). I agree with Phil Clarke wholly and pleased such tactics are now past.

Posted 09:37 2nd June 2013

Andie Riley says...

Great article Phil. Even saw some "bring back the biff" t-shirts at the Magic Weekend. There can be no option but to send the player off in my opinion, be it for 10 minutes or the whole game. I don't see referee's using the 10 minute option often enough. If they did, it might stamp out the thug element a little faster & even speed up the game.

Posted 23:28 28th May 2013

Don Elwell says...

Assertive and aggressive play can be skillful and should be encouraged not frowned upon. However, violent play should be recognised for what it is, pure thuggery! Punching is an intentional act, nobody accidentally throws a punch! Violent play should be banished from the game and punished immediately, by yellow or red card giving immediate advantage to the victims team. Certain players have built a reputation (and career) by violent behaviour on the pitch, but there has always been some reluctance from the officials to act immediately, by giving a penalty and opting to 'report' the matter or leave it to the Match Review Panel. The shoulder charge is a perfect example. Can we have a definitive ruling whether it is outlawed from the game as violent conduct and to be punished accordingly.? The shoulder charge has not left the game, it's use is open to interpretation, which will eventually lead to a mis-timed one causing a horrific injury. By then action will be too late! Perhaps the Referee should 'uphold' the Laws of the game instead of 'interpreting' them. There is a perception amongst many fans that certain referees try to 'balance the game' instead of ruthlessly and impartially enforcing the laws of the game. A Referee's job is hard enough, but respect will only come with how he handles his responsibilities.

Posted 12:53 21st May 2013

Peter Nugent says...

I couldn't agree with you more!! We all love the hard tackles and the collisions but such challenges and fights that are only designed to injure have no place in modern contact sport!! It is highly commendable that the use of the shoulder is outlawed and that only proper tackling is now tolerated in our wonderful sport. Accidents and injuries will still happen in any contact sport but the rule makers and administrators have a duty to ensure the safety of all who participate in sport. Failure to adhere to this ethos would see rugby league players in the dock charged with abh!!

Posted 00:08 21st May 2013

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