V’landys bullish as champs hit out at sin bin farce
ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has vowed to resist bowing to pressure as the NRL deals with the backlash over their crackdown on foul play.
Four Brisbane players were sensationally reported six times as the Broncos were left with 11 men at one stage of a drama-charged 50-6 mauling by Manly at Suncorp Stadium, but V'landys is standing firm.
"I'm not taking a backward step. It's short-term pain for long-term gain," V'landys said.
"It will kill the game if we don't get tough on foul play and particularly contact with the head.
"Unless we do something now we're going to be paying in the long run."
V'landys said that he was open to considering reducing the 10-minute sin bin to five minutes in the bin, but no changes to the current rules would be made this weekend.
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The opening night of Magic Round was marred by the sight of Broncos quartet Matt Lodge, Jordan Riki, Tevita Pangai Jnr and Tyson Gamble being booked in the opening 30 minutes as the NRL's crackdown turned to high farce.
The officiating madness continued after the break when Gamble and Riki were reported again in the 52nd minute for high shots - prompting both to be sent to the sin bin, leaving Brisbane vulnerable to a Manly half-century.
The crackdown - which also saw four players binned in the earlier Knights and Tigers clash - prompted Broncos legend Gorden Tallis to hit out.
"It ruins the spectacle. The game is the star," Tallis said on Fox League.
"Accidents happen. Tyson Gamble's tackle was not a (sin bin) ... I'd hit a mozzie harder than that on my leg, that's not a sin-bin offence.
"It's the game that I love but it's a version I'm not liking at the moment.
"The game is tough, and I know we've got to clean it up... but it's Magic Round, we want people here, it's the cleanest the game has ever been.
"NRL is different to junior rugby league and we're jumping at shadows."
Former Broncos captain Corey Parker was equally unimpressed with the decisions, saying he felt for the fans who had turned out for Magic Round.
"They're the people that are missing out, the people paying their hard-earned money to come and watch their stars play and it's unable to happen," Parker said.
"The standard has been set."
The Sea Eagles were superb in the first half, leading 20-6 at half-time, but with the Broncos ravaged by ill-discipline, Brisbane fell apart as two-try Tom Trbojevic and classy halfback Daly Cherry-Evans ran riot.
"We were all aware of the rule changes," Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.
"We were notified.
"It will be interesting to see how the rest of the weekend goes. We have bigger problems. That was soft. It was a terrible night for us."
It was Brisbane's biggest loss to Manly in their 33-year history, eclipsing a 44-14 flogging in 2015, consigning the Broncos to a dismal 2-8 record ahead of next Saturday's road trip to face the Roosters.
But forget the scoreline for a moment. The over-riding narrative was the NRL's beefed-up edict on foul play which is sure to trigger an inferno of debate after the Broncos were stitched up by foolish on-the-run policy.
I don't even know what to say about what is happening in the @NRL right now with this high contact crackdown. It is so wrong. The referees have been put in such a terrible position too. This is not the answer.#NRL#NRLMagicRound— Travis Meyn (@travismeyn) May 14, 2021
The NRL is gooooooone. It’s officially died today.— Ben Walker (@walkerb83) May 14, 2021
The 5 minute sin bin option will be in by next week otherwise we can get set for regular 50, 60, 70 points plus scorelines and big margins. Matches will often feature 13v 11...or maybe even more lopsided. @FOXNRL— Andrew Voss (@AndrewVossy) May 14, 2021
Don’t punish the refs tonight - they are doing exactly what their bosses have explicitly demanded. (In fact, they’ve probably let a few go according to their very clear instructions this week.) Different game. #nrl— Matt Russell (@MattRussellFOX) May 14, 2021
BAD BOY BRONCOS
ARL Commission boss Peter V'landys has done so many wonderful things for rugby league but this crackdown is not only unnecessary. It is a disgrace.
The optics of this knee-jerk, mid-season decision are terrible for the code.
Instead of cleaning up the game, the NRL has created a flashpoint of outrage that takes the eyeballs away from the purity of free-flowing football.
"The rules have changed and we can't do that," Walters said.
"We started soft and we got softer as the game went on. We have to keep finding some answers. It is our worst performance since I've been here."
TURBO SIMPLY TERRIFIC
He has been called a champion; a match-winner; a try scoring freak.
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic could soon be described as the greatest.
In a stunning compliment, former Sea Eagles premiership-winning captain, Paul Vautin, claimed Trbojevic could become Manly's greatest player, surpassing the legendary Bob Fulton, Cliff Lyons and Steve Menzies.
"I don't like matches like this where players are in the sin bin for minor contact - and that's what they have been," said Fox Sports commentator Michael Ennis.
After a horrible start to the season, the Sea Eagles have now won five of their past six games. Trbojevic and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans again inspired the Sea Eagles again along with a host of rising stars set to ensure Manly enjoy sustained success in coming years.
Trbojevic's stats, which included two tries, were super yet again. And his performance led Vautin to offer up an amazing accolade.
Asked to nominate Manly's finest fullback - whether it be Trbojevic, Graham Eadie or Brett Stewart - Vautin said: "It's still Graham Eadie, he played in four premiership wins and scored 1971 points. Brett Stewart was a magnificent try scorer, no doubt about that, very quick.
"But if Tom keeps going the way he is now, he could become Manly's greatest ever player. He is unbelievable. He just had to stay fit and well. If he does, I think he will be Manly's greatest player ever.
"And that is massive given Bob Fulton is an Immortal and is considered our greatest ever. Cliffy (Lyons), Beaver (Steve Menzies). There are so many great players but Tom could end up the best."
Eadie was at Suncorp Stadium to watch Trbojevic in action. Since his return from injury, Trbojevic has helped Manly to four wins in five matches.
Over the past two seasons, Manly has won eight from 12 games when Trbojevic has played. The Sea Eagles have won just four from 18 with Trbojevic missing.
Off-contract Anthony Milford is running out of time to save his career at the Broncos.
Brisbane's signing of Adam Reynolds has locked in their No.7 for next season and with Kotoni Staggs tipped to partner him at five-eighth, Milford is the third wheel ... and the alarm bells are ringing.
With every quiet game, Milford is inching towards the contract cliff at Red Hill. Brisbane's attack was on the back foot all night and it rendered Brisbane's $1 million man a passenger.
Queensland coach Paul Green would have relished this display from Cherry-Evans. With Origin I just three weeks away, the Maroons skipper is timing his run perfectly.
Cherry-Evans brought a magical touch to Magic Round, tormenting the Broncos with his running game and judicious kicking. His bullet pass which released Jason Saab for Trbojevic's opening try in the 15th minute was the play of a man in total control of his craft.
Originally published as V'landys bullish as champs hit out at sin bin farce