GIANTS coach Nathan Brown is to voice his concerns to match officials chief Stuart Cummings over the way referees are clamping down on slow play-the-balls.
Huddersfield were on the receiving end of a massive 22-11 penalty count in Monday night’s pre-season clash at St Helens, with the majority of referee Steve Ganson’s calls for ‘lying on’.
That huge handicap couldn’t prevent the Giants securing a magnificent morale-boosting 36-12 triumph ahead of their Super League XVI opener against Warrington Wolves next Saturday.
But Brown fears his side may not be able to get away with such a major penalty imbalance for a second time, and he is keen to meet with Cummings as quickly as possible to make sure the Giants don’t pay such a heavy penalty again.
“What happened the other night was way over the top,” said Brown.
“The way Steve refereed the game was a very big change from last year, and I did find it all very strange.
“You have to earn the right to gain quick play-the-balls and that now no longer looks the case.
“To be honest, Steve did warn us before this match what could happen, but that doesn’t come as much consolation to us.
“It just makes us wonder what’s in store when the season gets under way, so it’s important to go through the video of the game closely and talk to the referees’ bosses about it.
“I just hope that some very hard lessons have now been learned and that it’s a different story come a week on Saturday.”
Those sentiments were echoed by St Helens coach Royce Simmons, who was also critical of Ganson’s handling of the contest and has warned Super League XVI could be set for a war of attrition if the RFL order their referees to carry on clamping down on slow play-the-balls.
As a result, he says he will tell his team to “play up the middle” if referees insist on speeding up the ruck.
“That’s how the league want to play it this year by quickening it up and Steve Ganson was only refereeing to the rules that have been set in the league,” he said.
“But if they don’t change, then I’m going to find the biggest bunch of monsters I can and play up the park.
“I want to play entertaining footy but, with quick play-the-balls like that, that’s what you’ll get.
“Quick play-the-balls don’t always mean an entertaining game, they usually mean one man up as you don’t have to move the ball. You will get a fast game, but you’re only going one way forward though.”