Peter Sterling: Time to revisit the sin bin rule?

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright stressed that it didn’t cost his team a victory over Brisbane last weekend - but it sure didn’t help.<br><br>He was referring to the sin-binning of Mat Rogers in the 53rd minute following a tackle made by the Titans on flying Broncos winger Jharal Yow Yeh. <br><br>The first contact was actually made by Kevin Gordon but when he fell away, both Rogers and Scott Prince came in to finish off the tackle. As a result, Mat was sent to the bin for a professional foul despite the fact that he couldn’t move with Prince lying on top of him.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=855&amp;fixtureid=50020101901&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=737" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see this play.</a><br><br>It was a harsh call and could only have been aimed at the Titans' skipper, if at all.<br><br>The score at the time was 10-6 in favour of the home side, but following Rogers’ exit the Broncos scored through Antonio Winterstein in the next set of six to take the lead for the first time.<br><br>Cartwright was correct in his assessment that ultimately the better side won, however the decision did again raise the question as to the harshness of 10 minutes in the sin bin.<br><br>It was a talking point earlier in the year following some controversial decisions and without wanting to flog a dead horse, it is still an issue. I have no doubt that for the majority of offences that the bin is used, 10 minutes is too harsh a time frame.<br><br>At this stage of the season it has been utilised 15 times, and after going back and looking at each incident I believe that this period off the field was warranted on just four occassions.<br><br>The remaining 11 situations were minor indiscretions and not commensurate with missing an eighth of the contest. That may not sound like much, but matches can literally be won and lost in that time. <br><br>It is not only the opportunity of taking advantage of a 12 man defensive line and adding to the scoreboard, but also the effect it has on the opposition in covering the loss of a player. That may not become evident until late in the battle where fatigue becomes a real factor. &nbsp;<br><br>I’m not advocating that the bin shouldn’t be used, but that we introduce a six minute option alongside the current 10. <br><br>I’m happy that referees then use their discretion as to which is relevant. There’s an argument that our whistleblowers would be put in an uncomfortable situation by having to make this decision but I think it is invariably clear what offences deserve what punishment. We have given our refs more discretionary power in things like ball stripping and playing advantage and that hasn’t caused them undue stress.<br><br>In instances where players are guilty of possibly escalating a situation by being “third man in”, a shorter stint on the sidelines is usually more appropriate. That is unless things get particularly nasty due to their actions but that is rarely the case.<br><br>In Round 10, Willie Tonga reacted after kicker Johnathan Thurston was challenged late and was dispatched. Ironically, North Queensland got the penalty yet Tonga left his team short. Thankfully, the game was already won with a minute and a half to go.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=846&amp;fixtureid=50020101003&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=2797" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see this play.</a><br><br>In Round 13, Daniel Mortimer poked his nose into the Billy Slater/Jarryd Hayne disagreement and two weeks ago Mark Minichiello did the same when hookers Robbie Farah and Nathan Friend came to blows. Both men got 10 minutes for pretty innocuous involvements.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=849&amp;fixtureid=50020101301&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=1832" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Mortimer's involvement.</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=854&amp;fixtureid=50020101801&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=1097" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see why Mark Minichiello was marched.</a><br><br>Unfortunately for Minichiello, Blake Ayshford scored eight minutes after his dismissal to give the Tigers a 15-8 match-winning lead. <br><br>The most frustrating sin-binning is for “repeated infringements” which came to a head back in Round 6 between Parramatta and Souths.<br><br>Both Nathan Cayless and Beau Champion left the field at a crucial time after being penalised following a general warning. Since when did it become the referee’s job to not only award penalties but count them as well?<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=842&amp;fixtureid=50020100607&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=blooper&amp;period=2&amp;time=1595" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Cayless' sin-binning after 'repeated infringments'.</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=842&amp;fixtureid=50020100607&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=1708" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Champion handed the same punishment a minute later.</a><br><br>If a particular player is guilty of repeatedly doing the wrong thing then yes, 10 minutes is appropriate. Unfortunately this was the only penalty that Nathan and Beau conceded all game. Adding to the farce was that Cayless was the victim of mistaken identity. <br><br>Play the ball infringements are also usually touch and go and a high price to pay.<br><br>Jason Ryles experienced this in Round 10 against the Knights when he was binned for interfering with Isaac De Gois. There was a strong argument that Isaac failed to rise to his feet before planting the ball but the 50/50 call went against Ryles.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=846&amp;fixtureid=50020101004&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=110" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see this 50/50 call which went against Ryles.</a><br><br>Newcastle extended their lead to 22-12 through an Akuila Uate try shortly after.<br><br>I’m not saying that a number of these decisions should not have been awarded, they will often be discussed and disputed. What I am saying is that in the majority of cases, 10 minutes is too harsh a penalty for the individual and his team.<br><br>That is not always the case.<br><br>A month ago Timana Tahu was lucky not to have been sent off after the cheapest of shots on the Knights' James McManus. When he again lost his cool moments later in tackling Ben Cross, he had to be removed from proceedings. Once the referee had decided not to put him in the sheds for the rest of the game, this was definitely an occasion where 10 minutes was required.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=851&amp;fixtureid=50020101507&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=1&amp;time=517" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Tahu's actions which did deserve 10 minutes out of the match.</a><br><br>I think the same applied for George Rose’s swinging arm on Daniel Fitzhenry in Round 1, Luke O’Donnell’s dangerous contact with Beau Ryan’s head in Round 5 and Billy Slater’s attempted elbow chop in Round 15. In Billy’s defence, he may not have overreacted if Jarryd Hayne had been sin-binned or sent off for head-butting minutes earlier.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=837&amp;fixtureid=50020100108&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=2692" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Rose's sin-binning in Round 1.</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=841&amp;fixtureid=50020100505&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=1&amp;time=2903" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see O'Donnell's sin-binning in Round 5.</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=849&amp;fixtureid=50020101301&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=sinbinned&amp;period=2&amp;time=1832" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Slater's sin-binning in Round 15.</a><br><br>Ultimately, when the sin bin is used the punishment needs to fit the crime by taking into account the type of offences being committed and at what time of the game they are occurring.<br><br>Continue to deal with professional fouls, especially late in the contest, but the bulk of our infringements warrant a shorter time out of the game and six is a nice number. <br><br><b><a href="http://www.facebook.com/nationalrugbyleague" target="_blank">Do you agree with Sterlo's analysis? 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