Warriors play straight bat following Luke claims
Issac Luke is one of the game's most elusive dummy-half runners but it was his Warriors teammates doing all the side-stepping after the hooker had added fuel to the NRL's ongoing officiating fire.
Luke hit out at the demotion of under-fire referee Gerard Sutton to what NRL officials termed a lower-profile match, Sunday's clash between the Titans and Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium, describing it as an "insult" on Twitter before deleting the post.
The Warriors hooker tweeted it was "disrespectful to both teams".
But from coach Stephen Kearney through the assortment of players trotted before the cameras at the club's media session before departing for the Gold Coast, there was no appetite to stoke the issue further, at least not in public.
Kearney admitted he had taken his concerns over inconsistent refereeing, first raised after the Warriors 12-6 loss to the Melbourne Storm last week, to NRL referees' boss Bernard Sutton and was satisfied with the chat and "process" thereafter.
However, he had no interest in adding to the media feeding frenzy, a message clearly passed through the Warriors ranks.
"I think the reality of it is there's been enough commentary on it and everyone ... we need to move on," Kearney said. "I'm sure the powers that be will sort out the process and ensure we improve it [refereeing] but there's been enough said about it."
Kearney wouldn't bite when asked if he feared a poor refereeing decision could cost the Warriors a place in the top eight.
"Our focus is on Sunday afternoon, about our performance and ensuring we prepare as well as we can for Sunday afternoon," he said.
"Again, I'm not worried about the referees' performance, I'm worried about our performance. I'm not going into the game thinking bad referee's call is going to cost us the game."
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was clearly singing from a prepared song-sheet.
"I think we've addressed it. The coach has made his comments about it and spoke to the boys about it. We're all just ready to move on and play against the Titans this weekend," the fullback said
Did he feel the club has been disrespected? "Oh man, I just feel like we're ready to move on and play against the Titans. The boys are all pumped, that was a tough game against Melbourne but we're excited to try and fix a few things against the Gold Coast and put in a good performance."
When asked how he has interacted with Gerard Sutton on the field, he said: "I think I work well with all the refs."
What about the perception the Warriors get treated unfairly or differently to their Australian counterparts?
"It's tough because we live in New Zealand so we're just here in our own little bubble just trying to get ready every and each week and we play the Titans this weekend and go over to the Gold Coast and just try and have fun with it."
Maybe halfback Shaun Johnson would play ball? Alas, he was playing the deflection game too, as much as the body language from all those trotted before the media told a different story, perhaps like the one Luke shared on social media.
"To be fair it sort of goes straight over my head when I hear things being said about the refs or whatever they said about the club or our game ... I mean he's an experienced ref and he's got to referee somewhere, so why not it be our game," Johnson said of Gerard Sutton.
"Everyone's got different opinions on it but my focus isn't anywhere to do with the refs, it's about what we can control. Look, I'm sure it will all swing [in round abouts] and I'm sure we'll get our fair share of good calls in the next few games."
Johnson's halves partner Blake Green was playing a predictably straight bat too.
"He was reffing Origin a couple of weeks ago, wasn't he? He's a good referee so I'm glad he's having our game. He knows what he's doing so it's just the same as usual for us," Green said.