Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has slammed NRL referees boss Jared Maxwell for calling on his officials to reach into their pockets more often when it comes to head-high tackles.
Maxwell wants to see more sin-bins and send-offs in a bid to better-protect player’s from concussion.
The comments came after Maxwell said he would have supported Melbourne enforcer Felise Kaufusi and Manly prop Sean Keppie being sent off for their respective cheap shots in round two.
Parramatta forward Ryan Matterson was the best player on the field before his night was ended when Kaufusi knocked him out last Thursday night.
The Storm forward stayed on the field and Bellamy said referees needed to treat each incident on its merits in determining suitable punishments.
“All depends what the situation is,” Bellamy told The Age.
“You have to take what the circumstance is, the referees are trained to do that and they have to be the ones to make a decision.
“It’s depending on the incident or accident or whatever you want to call it, you just don’t want him to say you have to use the sin-bin more, that’s ridiculous.
“I think the referees are pretty well up on what they use the sin-bin for and what they don’t.”
Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary also copped a high shot from Canterbury winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak last week, which has ruled him out of the grand final rematch against the Storm on Thursday.
It means Matt Burton, who the Bulldogs have signed for 2022 and want released early, will get his chance for the Panthers.
“We are preparing for Nathan to be there. If that is not the case young [Matt] Burton will come in and he is a very, very talented player,” Belllamy said.
“He’s had plenty of space in the papers over the pre-season and we know what a good player he is.”
Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will also miss the match and two other Storm stars will be sidelined for longer than expected.
Papenhuyzen was ruled out of the round three clash at Panthers Stadium due to a neck injury sustained in last week’s loss to the Eels.
He is expected to miss one game, his absence a huge blow for the Storm with coach Craig Bellamy rating him as their best player in the opening matches of the season.
The Storm had hoped to have co-captain Dale Finucane (calf) and hooker Harry Grant (knee) back next round but Bellamy revealed on Wednesday that their recovery had been slower than expected.
“They (Finucane and Grant) are taking longer than we’d like and longer than what was first expected – they will probably be another two or three weeks away,” Bellamy said.
– with AAP