He’s certainly not alone, but Castleford centre Michael Shenton was the subject of a “cheating” controversy storm over a penalty awarded to the Tigers during their loss at Catalans.
It wasn’t the only instance in the game – the Dragons were also guilty of it on a number of occasions – but it was Shenton’s limp attempt at a pass to his left to deliberately win a penalty off a defender stranded behind the ruck that caught the attention on Twitter.
— Kieran Burke (@kieranutd) April 22, 2019
Supposedly clamped out at the beginning of last season, it is one of a number of issues that has gone beyond creeping in to the game and is now the norm as players continue to seek advantages wherever they can.
Opinions differ as to whether it should be up to the officials or the players to take responsibility for this, but it is clear that something has to change.
Whether it’s this, play-acting at the play the ball, pinching yards at marker, feigning injury or otherwise, it’s an ugly part of the game that could soon get out of control.
While Shenton is the unfortunate subject this weekend, much to the annoyance of Castleford fans, it has at least raised it as a discussion point.
Even Shenton’s coach Daryl Powell hinted at the “cheating” issues surrounding the game, implying that his players need to do it so that their opponents can’t gain an advantage in doing it themselves.
The quotes from Daryl Powell on this post-match are fascinating:
"The amount of cheating in games is growing. Playing the ball into players on the floor, playing it at 100mph and we’re cheating to combat the cheating. It’s worse than football at the moment." https://t.co/lvPWT1ULzk
— Aaron Bower (@AaronBower) April 22, 2019
It’s an example of a regular problem rugby league has – people don’t like things being called out when it’s their own team, when the reality is it isn’t just about that team, it’s about for the good of the game in general. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
The pressure and scrutiny on officials is increasing to such a level that it’s close to a crisis. We will never get a perfect game. Referees need to be allowed to allow the game to flow with sensible calls, such as in the Shenton incident simply playing on or resetting the play the ball.
Here is some of the social media reaction:
I've watched Warrington do this 3 times today all given @TheRFL sort this pathetic way of cheating out or lose fans the standard of the @RFLReferees atm is shocking I'm on the verge of throwing out my pass because it's a joke watching games being ruined by poor officials
— Michael Todd (@T0DDY) April 22, 2019
Im only 55 minutes in. Fucking madness. Biggest cheatathon I’ve ever witnessed. The nobs doing it should all be banned or dropped by the coaches.
— Ben Cockayne (@BenCockayne83) April 22, 2019
Sick of it, and it is turning me off. Thinking of not going until it is sorted. The wife told me to email the RFL. Tried this before, no reply. Heads in sand.
— Michael Mortimer (@morty642) April 22, 2019
Think I might have changed my mind in this one!? https://t.co/IxHqylrPGe
— Gareth Ellis (@gazellis12) April 23, 2019
Shocking that from Shenton. I don’t want us cheating our way to penalties.
— Simon Murray (@simon030667) April 22, 2019
Absolute disgrace this from Shenton. Need to start giving penalties for shit like this the other way. Not in the spirit of the game at all. https://t.co/AZ1m0qoNOW
— Martin Robinson (@Martin_Robbo87) April 22, 2019
@CTRLFC Embarassing professional foul from Shenton, I'm sick to death of seeing these penalties given. Cheating by throwing the ball at a grounded man? Weak referees allowing this?! Stop with the cheating! Gigot did it too, its embarassing!
— Philip Wynn (@Philwynn03) April 22, 2019
strange how a cas player does something that other players have been doing and suddenly its a big issue, the positive side of this is maybe the rfl will do something about and that will be down to michael shenton drawing attention to it
— james hughes (@richardin1956) April 23, 2019
This from Goudemand along with the Shenton incident from the same game are blatant acts of cheating which James Child is rewarding. Coaches, players and referees need locking in a room together to sort it out. https://t.co/daPcDO3RPF
— Alex Tyrer Graham (@AlexG6) April 22, 2019