Bulldogs bid to have Pay fine reduced
Canterbury will bid to have Dean Pay's $25,000 fine for his controversial comments about the referees reduced by the NRL as the rookie coach accepts he must tread with more caution in his post-match press conferences.
The Bulldogs have made a written submission to the governing body and will push for Pay's punishment to come down, on the grounds that his comments were a first-time offence and he has expressed remorse over his post-match blow up after the controversial 22-20 round nine loss to Brisbane.
Canterbury CEO Andrew Hill has confirmed he and head of football Andrew Farrah met with the NRL's top brass on Wednesday to discuss the severity and nature of the breach notice handed down on Monday.
"Andrew Farah and I requested a meeting with Todd Greenberg and Nick Weeks, which we were grateful for them to afford us time yesterday," Hill told NRL.com.
"We discussed the proposed breach and put the club's thoughts to them, that's now been followed up by a written submission and now it's up to the NRL to advise us of their final decision."
Speaking for the first time since being whacked with the five-figure fine, Pay conceded he needed to be more selective with his comments given the impact criticism can have on refereeing ranks.
"I think honesty needs to be a part of the game, there's no doubt about that," Pay told reporters on Thursday.
"But from where I stand I just need to be a little bit more selective with what I say at press conferences. There's a lot of emotion after a game.
"It doesn't help (the officials), I really understand that. We need as many people in the game as possible.
"I understand that and that's the downfall of it all so I need to be a little bit more selective with what I say."
The Bulldogs coach would not be drawn on the size of the $25,000 fine, which goes well above the $10,000 that was considered the norm for comments that questioned the officials' integrity until last season.
Pay is in contact with referees boss Bernard Sutton most every week, with the pair talking through the decisions Pay labelled "ridiculous" and "disgraceful" after the tense defeat to the Broncos.
Of particular concern to the governing body was Pay's claim that "it's like we're not supposed to win".
The Bulldogs are arguing that Pay was not referencing the referees with the above comment, but was instead referring to the club's run of luck across several tight losses this season.
Pay admitted frustration at his team's 2-7 start, which leaves them and fellow cellar dwellers Parramatta battling to avoid finishing the weekend in last place, had started to creep into his squad.
With hooker Michael Lichaa remaining in reserve grade this week, Pay will field the same playmaking spine that produced a more fluid attacking effort against Brisbane.
Questioned on the form of star signing Kieran Foran, who has battled form and fitness concerns as he carries a niggling knee injury, Pay called on his teammates to ease the load carried by the No.7.
"We're always looking for other players to step up and take some pressure off him," Pay said.
"It's not just one player, it's across the board. We all need to step up in that area.
"We've had some new players come into the squad and our spine has had a couple of different changes during the season.
"We're looking for a little bit more consistency in what they're doing and I suppose we're no different from any club."