With debate raging about whether or not modern players are prone to ‘milking’ penalties by laying down for longer periods, a current NRL prop has confirmed that players “100 per cent” seek to create an advantage through deception.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson responded defensively to suggestions that the tri-colours were guilty of the tactic, but 252-game NRL veteran and St George Illawarra Dragons prop Aaron Woods has confirmed that the strategy is regularly employed on the field – though he pointed the finger firmly at one side of the debate.
“100 per cent, players always do it,” Woods told the Fox League Podcast.
“I’m a massive Cameron Murray fan, but you’re telling me he didn’t stay down trying to get that penalty (at) the bottom of the posts?
“Knowing there have been so many sin-bins already in the game and that it was Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who is a main offender – (Murray) knows if the ref sees him in the tackle he’s obviously going to check it.”
After accusing Murray of play-acting, Woods went on to praise the Roosters, agreeing with Robinson that the integrity of the Tri-colours didn’t deserve to be called into question.
“(Robinson) is probably happy. They got beat, but he can say ‘we didn’t do what other teams do, we stuck to our standards and our culture at the Roosters. Their integrity wouldn’t be questioned,” Woods continued.
“Honestly, you look at the Roosters, I’ve played against them. They’re a physical side, they’re a nice and direct type of team, they don’t stay down.”
Woods also had a solution in mind to assist the NRL with dealing with the issue.
“I hate when players get hit high or there’s a little bit of contact up high and they stay down,” he said.
“It’s not until they can hear the ref start to blow time off or there’s a penalty – then they’re playing on again straight away.
“For me, if you lay down you’re straight off for a HIA – 15 minutes off the field. Any time someone tries to lay down thinking they’re trying to milk something, just take them off and it’ll stop the players from doing it.”