Why Huddersfield Giants star says it is time to tackle the clampers

Joe Wardle: Escaped ban.
Joe Wardle: Escaped ban.
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HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS’ Joe Wardle has called for a clampdown on all the clamping down in Super League.

The Scotland back-row is available for Saturday’s Magic Weekend fixture against Hull FC having avoided being suspended for last week’s sin-binning.

It’s going to get to the point where we won’t be able to wrestle. Blokes are doing it every week now and getting away with it.

Joe Wardle

Wardle was yellow-carded for dissent in Friday’s win over Hull KR after first speaking out of turn to a touch judge and then – having been penalised – doing the same to referee Robert Hicks.

Some players, such as Hull and England star Jake Connor, have been banned subsequently as well in such circumstances this term.

However, Monday’s match review panel decided only to caution the 27-year-old who was “animated in approach” and demonstrated “aggressive body language in appealing” the decision.

Wardle had been penalised for holding onto his opponent in the tackle too long in the eighth minute, but he maintains it was the other way around.

“I thought the ref had clearly got it wrong,” he said. “A lot of teams are doing it now – trapping players in – and it’s just getting beyond a joke.

“It happens all the time and it’s going to get to the point where we won’t be able to wrestle. Blokes are doing it every week now and getting away with it.

“I think everyone needs to start smartening up on it. But that’s just my personal opinion.”

Wardle believes attackers surreptitiously clamping onto an opponent’s arm to give the impression of the defender slowing the play down – and potentially gaining a penalty – is becoming too commonplace and preventing the battle for tackle dominance.

This said, Wardle, in his second spell at Huddersfield after rejoining from Castleford Tigers in January, conceded he reacted poorly to the incident.

“I did lose my head a little bit,” he said. “It probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but that’s how frustrating it is getting as it is happening that often now.”

Huddersfield conceded when down to 12 men and trailed 16-8 at half-time, but fought back to earn a valuable 30-22 victory.

They will look to back that up against KR’s city rivals Hull FC at Liverpool.

“I am really looking forward to it,” said Wardle. “Playing at Anfield it’s going to be a great atmosphere and these are the places you want to play as a kid.

“I am really looking forward to the occasion and, hopefully, we can have a good week’s prep and keep building.

“We need to keep knocking some wins off and, hopefully, put in a bit of a better performance against Hull than we did against Hull KR.”

Wardle had scored on the hour mark to level at 16-16 before his younger brother – 20-year-old centre Jake – scored a brilliant 90m effort.

“He nearly didn’t have the legs, did he?” he joked. “He must have my genes for that smartness slowing up to beat the last man like he did.

“I’d have pulled back on halfway. Fair play to him. I’m glad Jake’s got one after all the hard work he’s been doing the last couple of weeks to get back playing.

“That’s just when it pays off when you score like that. I’m happy for him. He deserves it.”

Wardle had been absent with a groin problem, but showed his class and could go up against former Huddersfield favourite Connor in a fascinating battle at Liverpool.

Huddersfield are up to ninth after their first win in four games, just four points off bottom but the same amount from the top five.

“I just think we were always doing enough against KR,” recalled Wardle. “They were in the same boat; no one really came to the races and gave it the full go.

“I don’t know if it was maybe after the week before (Giants pushed leaders St Helens in the Challenge Cup) and the short turnaround or what.

“But fair play to the boys. We did enough and got the two points and that’s all it’s about at the end of the day.

“Sometimes it’s not going to be pretty; it’s just about getting the win. But we want to build on that ready for Hull at Magic.”

They will need to be; FC produced arguably their best result of the season to win 19-12 at second-placed Warrington Wolves on Saturday.

It leaves them joint third and instilled with a belief they can go on and challenge for the title.

Their Australian back-row Mark Minichiello said: “The top two – Saints and Warrington – have been far better than the majority of the competition all year.

“But if that’s the level you need to be at week-in, week-out then we proved that we can match it and beat those teams. For us, it’s doing it week-in, week-out, that’s the challenge now.

“If that’s the intensity and physicality of the game we need to step up to, it’s a great challenge for us to meet. Huddersfield are a big, physical team and we have to back up that performance against Warrington and keep building.”