Sin bin appears here to stay despite NRL coaches’ pleas

Jasper Bruce |

Adam Doueihi’s sin-binning against the Roosters was the 71st in the NRL this season.
Adam Doueihi’s sin-binning against the Roosters was the 71st in the NRL this season.

The NRL appears unlikely to make changes to the sin bin despite calls from coaches to overhaul the system.

After Wests Tigers lost two players for 10 minutes in Sunday’s loss, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson joined Dolphins counterpart Wayne Bennett in questioning whether the sin bin was being overused in the modern game.

In total, 71 players have been sin-binned across 17 rounds this season.

Coaches have long lamented inconsistencies in the use of the sin bin as well as perceived discrepancies between punishment for an offence on-field, and on the match review committee’s charge sheet.

Seven-time premiership winner Bennett last week suggested these frustrations could be allayed by reserving the sin bin for professional fouls, with foul play to be handled after fulltime.

The Australian Rugby League Commission will address these concerns about the sin bin as part of its end-of-season review, consulting coaches and clubs as part of that process.

But the game appears at long odds to make sweeping changes to the sin bin, having opted against doing so in the past.

“(The suggestions) are a matter for the commission to consider but I don’t think there’s going to be any backward step from the commission in relation to the approach that they take with foul play,” said NRL head of football Graham Annesley.

Adam Gee, Cameron Murray and Latrell Mitchell.
Cameron Murray (C) is shocked after Latrell Mitchell (R) was binned earlier this season. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

To find middle ground, the NRL could consider introducing a five-minute sin bin or allowing offending players to return from the sin bin if the opposition scored during their hiatus.

But it was perceived inconsistencies that led the league to scrap five-minute sin-bins in 1991, with Annesley also quick to acknowledge the deeper purpose the sin bin served.

“It acts as a deterrent for foul play. Just as they know they can be sent off for extreme foul play, (players) know that they can be sin-binned for foul play,” he said.

“It’s a complex question to answer and there’ll be a variety of different views on it but the rules are what they are.

“Sin bins, send-offs are not new to the game. Everyone knows that any step outside the boundaries of the laws of the game can risk stronger action than just on-field penalties.

“Everyone has to play within those guidelines.”

Annesley was also satisfied match officials made the right call denying Parramatta winger Blaize Talagi a try in the 34-26 loss to Newcastle on the grounds of a knock-on.

Blaize Talagi.
The Eels’ Blaize Talagi had a try controversially rubbed off in Newcastle. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

“If you elevate that up off the ground, the ball comes out of his hand and there’s nothing to stop it dropping away from the arm, so there’s no way this can be ruled a try,” he said.

He also backed the decision not to award Maika Sivo a try in the same game given insufficient evidence to overturn the on-field ruling that the winger had been short of the line.

“These things are literally matters of millimetres but close enough is not good enough. This was ruled no try on the field, so the bunker has to be able to prove conclusively that this was a try,” Annesley added.