Herbert comfortable with NRL challenges

Ed Jackson |

NRL head of football Graham Annesley might not approve but Gold Coast centre Patrick Herbert has no issue with deliberately stopping play to use a captain’s challenge.

Herbert was one of two Titans to concede a ruck penalty on purpose to allow a challenge to be used during last weekend’s clash with Parramatta.

Herbert was tugged back by his jersey as he tried to run in support of Jamayne Isaako with just over 20 minutes to play in the 26-20 loss at CBUS Super Stadium, the Eels gathering the loose ball from Isaako’s offload.

Herbert then deliberately laid on the ruck, telling referee Peter Gough he’d been pulled back before Tino Fa’asuamaleaui then successfully challenged the call after a penalty had been awarded to the Eels.

On both occasions the Titans used the ploy they went on to score tries shortly afterwards.

Annesley said at his weekly briefing the challenges should not have been allowed to proceed and Gough had handled the incidents “consistently, but both wrongly”.

Herbert however was unapologetic about his actions.

I watch a lot of footy, you see the other teams do it, and you think ‘fair enough, that’s a call that’s been missed’,” Herbert said.

“It was a bit of a stretch on the weekend (but) I did get pulled so I thought, ‘you know what? I’ll do it. Everyone else does it so why not?’

“I felt like I was disadvantaged.”

Herbert said the main issue as far as he was concerned was that on both occasions the right decision had been made, and it was calculated risk by teams if they want to deliberately stop play at the risk of being sin-binned.

“We get one challenge and then if it’s wrong, we go to the bin,” he said.

“I feel like it’s a fair thing if you want to do a professional foul by stopping the game but if the call’s right, everyone knows.

“If it’s the right call then, it’s the right call, so take it as you will.”

Titans coach Justin Holbrook said Annesley’s comments had cleared up the situation and he was OK with the NRL’s interpretation.

“It’s a tough one isn’t it?,” Holbrook said.

“I did hear him (Annesley) say we don’t do the NFL – stop, start – but at the end of the day you only get one captain’s challenge, so if you risk it and get it wrong, it’s out isn’t it?

“You would like bit more focus on the right calls but we’ll get there.”