"It isn't the players' fault, it's the game's fault" ... Paul Gallen on players staying on the ground to attract penalties. Photo: Getty Images
AFTER being injured and placed on report in the loss to South Sydney on Monday night, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen again found himself in the firing line yesterday, when Rabbitohs star and fellow hardman Michael Crocker admonished him on Twitter.
Crocker took a dislike to comments Gallen had made when he was asked during an interview yesterday morning about players staying on the ground to attract penalties in the Sharks-Souths game and whether he thought it was a growing problem.
''Yeah, I think it is,'' Gallen said. ''And it isn't the players' fault, it's the game's fault.
Grade one dangerous contact ... Paul Gallen's knee on Dave Taylor. Photo: Fox Sports
''My opinion has always been that if the pocket referee, who is there within five metres, at most, of an incident, and another referee, who is probably within 10 metres of it, and two touch judges on either side can't see anything wrong with the tackle, you shouldn't have to go to a video referee, it should be play on.
''Players are getting penalties for staying down, and they are not doing anything wrong. You can't call a player a dog for staying down, [because] they are playing by the rules. So until they fix that it's going to keep happening.''
Gallen appeared to be merely trying to dissect the problem, and suggest it was the league's responsibility to fix it via a change in the attitude of match officials, but Crocker clearly thought Gallen was encouraging players to stay down.
Talking tough ... Michael Crocker. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Crocker tweeted three times on
the subject, starting with: ''Paul Gallen shouldn't be talking about players staying down and playing for penalties. Supposedly one of the toughest in game #getupandplayon.''
That was followed by, in two parts: ''Thanks for all the feedback, positive & negative. Wasn't taking a stab @ Paul or anyone in particular, just didn't think he should be Encouraging players to stay down and play for penalties. Let the referees make their mistakes (they always have, always will) & get on with it.''
Gallen received good news on the injury front yesterday, when scans revealed the knee injury he sustained against Souths wasn't serious. He has a strained posterior cruciate ligament, which will not keep the NSW captain out of State of Origin I against Queensland at Etihad Stadium on May 23.
But it is likely to keep him out of Cronulla's big game against unbeaten leaders Melbourne at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
''I'll do everything I can to play [against the Storm], but realistically it's probably going to be a week on the sideline,'' Gallen said. ''I was in a bit of pain at first, last night, and I probably panicked a little bit as well, but it's a big relief now.''
Gallen said he had delayed calling NSW coach Ricky Stuart until he received the results of the scans. ''Now I can tell him what the go is. It's probably a week out.''
The league's match review committee yesterday charged Gallen with grade one dangerous contact, after his knee came in contact with Souths forward Dave Taylor's head during the game.
An early guilty plea would leave him with 75 carry-over penalty points. If Gallen contested the charge and was found guilty, he would be suspended for one match and have no carry-over points.
Cronulla management will consult with Gallen and make a decision on a plea today, and their choice could be influenced by whether Gallen is considered a decent chance to be fit to play against Melbourne, based on his condition this morning.
''We're considering all of the options,'' Cronulla football manager Darren Mooney said.