James Child awarded an astonishing 37 penalties in Castleford’s 40-20 victory over Wakefield, a feat which left Trinity coach John Kear warning such officialdom was in danger of ruining the sport.
Widders scored two tries in the contest but was left bewildered by the actions of the referee, who sin-binned three players for persistent offending with many of the penalties stemming from issues at the ruck.
“Both sides out there were shocked by the number,” he said. “In past seasons you’ve been able to do those things at the ruck – Wigan probably won a title last year doing that same thing – but all the clubs are now behind the eight ball because we haven’t been given the heads-up about what was expected.
“It shows the RFL and referees should have put more work in during the off-season.
“If they were going to police it so tough – the speed of the ruck – they should have come to see the clubs and work on what was going to happen there. They should have been out at our training.
“It is tough on the fans as well. They turned up expecting some good rugby but, to see that many penalties and the game just slowed down, it’s not a good look. It’ll be like that for a couple of weeks and sides will have to adapt quickly.”
Kear was asked about the yellow cards after both Sam Obst and Daryl Millard were sin-binned, Castleford’s Joe Arundel suffering the same fate.
“I am absolutely clueless,” he said. “Thirty seven penalties is unbelievable. What are we watching?
“Is the philosophy of the RFL to have an entertaining game or not. If it is you will not get it with 37 penalties.
“I thought the two teams were magnificent with the entertainment value that they provided, given the restrictions that were opposed upon them.
“I am glad the RFL have employed Jon Sharp. Hopefully he can put a stop to this.”
Meanwhile, Kear revealed the club’s new owner had spoken to the squad on Saturday morning ahead of the match.
Wakefield had entered administration the previous day before being brought out again in time for the season kick-off.
“There was a visible lift in the hotel,” said Kear. “Andrew Glover came to visit the boys and what he said really helped the players.
“Everybody is feeling much better. We were feeling happy in the lead-up to the game but we’re feeling frustrated now and that’s not because we lost the game.”