Greenberg backs refs after Andrew Johns says they're 'destroying games'

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has rejected suggestions referees are “destroying games”, declaring they are simply doing their job.

Greenberg weighed in on a discussion on the Triple M Grill Show on Friday morning, where Matthew Johns suggested the possibility of introducing a five-minute sin bin this season to negate repeated foul play around the ruck and lazy defending.

 “The referees are doing exactly what they have been asked to do,’’ Greenberg said. 

“They are following instructions – we told them we want to see better play the balls and that players are also staying onside.

“If teams don’t follow the laws of the game they will be penalised.”

Greenberg had a supporter in Johns, who said the whistleblowers eventually “have to draw a line in the sand”.

“If you stay onside and don’t break the rules, you won’t be penalised,’’ he said. 

“I’ve noticed a few teams when on their goal-line are deliberately giving away penalties.

“This could be due to fatigue, but I also think some are willing to just cop the two points rather than a potential try.”

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has a different view to his brother.

Speaking at halftime on Channel Nine’s coverage of Thursday night’s Storm v Cowboys encounter at AAMI Park, he felt the game is being destroyed by penalties.

“Every third set there is a penalty,’’ he said.

“There is no flow to the game, it is frustrating to watch.”

The NRL Competition Committee will meet over the next month to discuss a number of the game's current talking points, with the possibility of a five-minute sin bin for repeated infringements on the agenda.

It’s interesting because some of the penalties are very subjective as well I think.

Anthony Seibold

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold said high penalty counts have become an unwanted recent trend in the game.

 “I think there was 22 in our game last week and just watching the Storm and Cowboys last night there was a whole heap again,'' he said at Friday's press conference from Redfern Oval. 

“It’s interesting because some of the penalties are very subjective as well I think. There some clear cut ones when it’s a two man tackle and someone rakes the footy or three guys stay in longer inside the 20 metre zone, but some subjective ones are like the offside penalties and there’s been a whole heap of them.

“I don’t think it’s allowed the games to be free flowing so I’d like to see a little bit more footy played but I can also understand the referees are trying to implement what’s coming down from above so we’ve worked really hard on our discipline ourselves so that’s what we can control.

“If they end up putting a five minute sin bin in well so be it, we’ll just jump into that and try not to get anyone sin binned I suppose."