Calls for action on players “cheating” after Michael Shenton storm

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.

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.

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: