Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.
Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.

Cleary fed up with sin-bin crackdown

WESTS Tigers coach Ivan Cleary has questioned this year's dramatic increase in sin-bin use, suggesting the game could turn into touch football as teams come to terms with the penalty crackdown.

Cleary's comments come after second-rower Michael Chee Kam was marched for repeated infringements during the first half of Sunday's NRL loss to Cronulla.

Cleary insisted his concerns weren't an excuse for their defeat, but claimed the decision to use the sin bin more was meant to address the issue of deliberately giving away penalties in an attacking zone.

"I feel like the context has gone out a bit," Cleary said.

"When we originally started the sin bin thing, it was originally for lots of penalties on your goal line, ones that were deliberate in trying to take the proverbial, if you like.

"I've seen a few lately that - maybe it's me - I don't see it in that category.

"I just think sometimes they're a bit out of context, and I thought today's (one was) like that."

Cleary's comments also come after State of Origin officials were widely praised for handing out a season-low five penalties in last week's series-opener.

And while Cleary insisted players were learning from the penalty crackdown, all seven matches so far in round 14 had at least 17 infringements.

"We discuss it. Once a warning's gone out, you've got to be squeaky clean.

"But at the end of the day, if you give a penalty away, sometimes it can happen," Cleary said.

"What you don't want is once a warning's given, it becomes touch football because you don't want to end up in the bin.

"But if it's touch football, you concede tries."


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