St Helens coach Nathan Brown has outlined his tough stance on players talking to referees, and he insists that he has no time for dissent towards match officials.
Brown hit the headlines in the wake of his team’s win at Wigan on Friday night, when he offered up some choice quotes about referee Phil Bentham’s performance.
“I’ve got no interest in my players talking to the referee, in no manner at all,” he said.
“Especially in a bad manner. You would have seen the other night when things didn’t quite go our way in the heat of the battle, apart from Paul Wellens, or Jon Wilkin talking to Phil, the other players I don’t like talking to referees.
“They’ve got to concentrate on playing and putting their best performance in. I’ve always thought and always had the same opinion that if players are abusing the referee they should be red-carded.
“It’s not their job to abuse the referee and talk to the referee. You’ve got a captain, the captain’s there for a reason.
“Everyone else should concentrate on playing.
“You don’t want people in your team who are concentrating on arguing with the referee as opposed to playing.
“Playing’s hard enough as it is, as refereeing’s hard enough as it is. The referees don’t need players doing that to them, and your own team doesn’t need players concentrating on refereeing.
“If players are more interested in arguing with the referee then they’re not going to be playing at their best.”
The comments from Brown after Friday’s game also provoked a stern response from Wigan coach Shaun Wane.
Brown maintains that there is no bad blood between him and the coach of his side’s nearest rivals.
“What’s been said is said. I’m never going to fall out with another coach over a game of rugby league and some comments I made,” said Brown.
“I’ve spoken to Waney since then. At the end of the day, Waney’s interest is Wigan and mine is St Helens, and sometimes things get said.
“If Waney didn’t respond to me I’d probably be disappointed wouldn’t I! What’s happened has happened, you just move forward.
“You’ve got two coaches who are very interested in their team getting a fair crack of the whip, and sometimes get things said.
“Life will go on, and there’s no issue between me and Waney at my end, and I don’t think there is from Waney’s end.”
The Saints coach also feels that coaches moaning about referees is not something that he wants to see creep into the sport.
It is also something that he insists that he has rarely done during his time in England.
“I’m all for guidelines being in place, because what you don’t want is referees getting bagged every week,” he said.
“I think I’ve proven since I’ve been here in my five years that the only thing I’ve ever complained about is referees doing the right thing on foul play, where clubs were trying to injure players, and targeting certain areas of their body to hurt them.
“Apart from that I never complain about the referee. I had my little one the other day, and I had my reasons, which I believe were correct, for doing so.
“But it’s happened now. Whatever comes of it will come of it. But Phil Bentham didn’t go out there to deliberately have a bad game.
“Coaches don’t deliberately have bad days, and players don’t either. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes a bit of criticism comes with it, and we’ll moved forward.”