NRL club CEOs to discuss sin-bin after Greenberg admits to time-keeping foul-up
The controversial time-keeping mix-up in last Saturday's drama-charged Melbourne-Manly game at AAMI Park will be raised in Tuesday’s CEOs meeting, as NRL boss Todd Greenberg moved to ensure it would not happen again.
The official agenda for the CEOs meeting doesn't include the Saturday night debacle, where Sea Eagles players Api Koroisau and Matthew Wright returned one minute and 41 seconds early from their mandatory 10 minutes in the sin bin.
But it's expected that Storm will raise the issue when the 16 club bosses gather at NRL headquarters in Sydney on Tuesday.
On Monday night Greenberg voiced his disappointment at the headlines and commentary around the timing error.
And considering round 11's eight matches had a whopping 14 players sent to the sin-bin - including four in the Sea Eagles-Storm match alone - the NRL will want to put a lid on the controversy.
The NRL had already apologised for the mistake but Greenberg took it a step further.
"We own it. We made an error, and it won't happen again," Greenberg said.
"I've been pretty disappointed with some of the things I've seen and read over the weekend. That was one of them. There's been a strong directive to our staff today to ensure that doesn't happen again.
"Parts of the process broke down over the weekend. The fans expect us to do better. As the NRL, we police the games, we monitor the games, and run the games, and that's exactly our directive."
The NRL ground manager at Saturday's game was asked to look after the entire time-keeping process when normally he would have more of a monitoring role, because neither Manly or Melbourne had nominated an official to keep track of sin-bins.
There is no obligation for clubs to look after the stopwatch on the sin-bin. But they normally inform the NRL ground manager before each game which official is designated to keep en eye on the clock.
Players feel the onus is on the NRL to take the timing off the clubs' hands altogether.
"It's probably better if someone from the NRL would do it, that would make it more fair," Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks said.
"I think it's only reasonable someone from the NRL should be assigned it."
Teammate David Nofoaluma agreed the governing body should be responsible.
"This year the sin bins have been the big thing," Nofoaluma said.
"I think it should be the NRL as they are the ones in charge. If there's been a mistake then they need to fix it up.
"It looks unprofessional. But I also think it'’s only a little hiccup that can be fixed quite easily."
Greenberg has one solution already.
"We've been looking at some technology advancements around sin-bins for a few months now," he said.
"Clearly there are some opportunities for us to use some of the shot clocks we currently use as well as the Bunker. The short answer is yes, we'll look at it."
The other talking point out of the Sea Eagles' 24-4 win over the Storm was Melbourne centre Curtis Scott accepting a two-match ban for striking Manly's Dylan Walker in the face and fracturing his eye socket. Walker will spend more than a month on the sidelines.
Many commentators found the disparity between those two scenarios unfair.
Manly CEO Lyall Gorman said his club would speak informally with the NRL on finding a balance between a club losing a player long-term and the penalty for the player who caused the injury.
"We abide by the rules and regulations of the game and fully support them. This is not the time to jump up and down," Gorman told NRL.com.
"There is a review at the end of the year, via the NRL’s Competition Committee, to flag these kinds of things. That's the process to do it."
Greenberg expressed empathy with Manly's plight, but it seems unlikely things will change.
"I can understand why people will be debating that," he said.
"Ultimately we've got a judiciary code, we've got a whole pile of rules in place, and sometimes they don't marry up between suspensions and injuries.
"That's a common product of some of the things that happen in the game."
Despite 14 sin-binnings last weekend, Greenberg felt the penalty was not being over-used.
"This time last year, I heard calls from players, coaches, fans and commentators, about putting more people in the sin bin for repeated offences," he said.
"That's exactly what we're doing, and we're going to keep doing it until such time as the players follow the rules."