Wayne Bennett has launched a passionate defence of the NRL's head contact crackdown, but wants the bunker to stop over-officiating minor incidents in the game that do nothing but kill the momentum that entertains fans.
Bennett was at his expansive and entertaining best in an explosive 13-minute post-match press conference where he staunchly defended the NRL's stance to eradicate head contact from the game.
The veteran South Sydney coach said every other sporting code in Australia had taken strong moves to get head contact out of their games and rugby league had to act or they'd be left behind as a sport.
"I've been fighting for that for years. I don't believe we should make any contact with the head at all," Bennett said.
"AFL won't accept it. You touch anybody above the shoulders you're in trouble. Rugby union made a huge change two years ago. Anything above the shoulders you're probably in the sin bin in rugby union and you're probably doing two and three weeks.
Bennett backs rule changes, wants Bunker involvement tweaked
"When are we going to get the message in our game – when we get liable cases against us in 10 years, case after case because the game did nothing about reducing the number of head knocks?
"Is that what we're going to do? We're going to drive more parents away and not letting their kids play because in our game it's okay to knock somebody out with a head high? Or attack their head? It's a poor excuse. We've got to come to the reality of the situation.
"The game's got to be strong enough to stay at it and you'll see a change of behaviour. Why is it acceptable in our code to hit blokes in the head when I've just talked about two other codes that won't accept it? Are we right and they're all wrong? I don't think so.
"I've been on this for a long time on the head stuff. I'm totally supportive of that but I'm not supportive of the game going on for a minute after it then we come back and we all stop the whole game and go through the video then we put somebody on report then we give a penalty."
The incident which sparked Bennett's anger came in the 73rd minute and it favoured South Sydney as Cronulla had all the momentum to close the deficit to 20-16 only for Chad Townsend to get placed on report two tackles later for unnecessary neck contact.
The penalty helped South Sydney out of trouble, they scored a few tackles later and they went on to secure a win that had appeared in jeopardy until the Bunker intervened.
I've been fighting for that for years. I don't believe we should make any contact with the head at allWayne Bennett
Bennett said the Bunker should not be stopping the game to penalise issues that were missed by the referee unless a player is injured or they have to go off for a Head Injury Assessment.
He believes rugby league is built upon momentum and fans don't want to see the game stopped all the time for minor fouls when the match review committee has the role and power to punish them during the week.
"You've got to understand that the game relies on momentum," Bennett said.
"For the game to be attractive it needs to have momentum in it and every time you stop the game it breaks the momentum and everybody has to go back and they have to start it all over again.
Marshall mesmerises, Koloamatangi scores
"Tonight we let the game go on then we go back to the point the incident happened. If the ref doesn't see it let's just get on with it.
"The bunker's there for the support of the referees. If the ref doesn't see it they can pick it up tomorrow. And they can charge the player tomorrow. They've got all those rights.
"When the game stops for three minutes, these guys recover and you have to start it all over again.
"It's a game of attrition and you need to keep at each other for four or five sets to get the game you want but every time you stop and you have this two or three minute delay the game starts all over again.
"We're not going to have the game we want to entertain the fans with."