Jamie Peacock urges referees to be more sympathetic

Jamie Peacock

Former England captain Jamie Peacock has called for more sympathetic refereeing following a spate of red and yellow cards in the early weeks of the Betfred Super League season.

Referees have been instructed to take decisive action on contact to the head and have been backed up by the judiciary who have imposed lengthy suspensions but Peacock believes there has been an overreaction.

“I think everyone is a little bit frustrated by how some of the laws have been interpreted,” the former Leeds and Bradford forward told the PA news agency.

“It’s quite frustrating to watch some of that and people are probably frustrated by the length of some of the bans being handed out.

“I feel there is some overreaction. If you referee the rules black and white, we don’t have a rugby league game because you can give a penalty away in almost every single action.

“I think there needs to be a better understanding of the shades of grey on how to referee.

“We want our best players out on the pitch and, more often than not, we want to see 13 against 13.”

Player welfare considerations

Peacock, who played over 500 matches and accumulated 47 international caps in his distinguished career, is fully behind the Rugby Football League’s efforts to improve player welfare but says coaches also have a responsibility to play a role and this can start in training.

“I understand there is a greater emphasis now on player welfare but the biggest problem comes from contact in training,” Peacock added.

“We’ve seen the Hollywood moments of people getting high-tackled and being punished by long bans.

“I think we could have a better impact on player welfare by clamping down on the amount of time clubs are allowed to have high-collision impact in training.

“That way you really don’t impact the game, which is a collision sport and that’s what people love about the game, the confrontational side of it.”

Ultramarathon challenge

Meanwhile, the 44-year-old Peacock is stepping up his preparations to run a 100-mile ultramarathon around the streets of London on April 16 in aid of the charity Greenhouse Sports which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

‘Run for the Roof’ will raise funds for Greenhouse, including their sports coaching with young people and the roof repair of the Greenhouse Centre, and Peacock believes it will represent his toughest challenge yet.

“We ran the double marathon last year and it was getting difficult towards the end,” he said.

“With it being the 20th anniversary of the charity, we wanted to up that so we thought let’s do it twice – four marathons.

“It’s going to be huge. It’s very difficult to train for but it’s the kind of event you want to do to raise some money for a great charity.”

Peacock and sports agency founder Simon Dent raised over £60,000 from their 52-mile ultramarathon last May and want to do more for a charity that helps young people living in poverty reach their full potential.

“Currently there are four million children in the UK living in poverty and lockdown in the last couple of years has meant kids haven’t been able to go to school,” Peacock said.

“When kids in tough areas go to school it’s their six hours of sanctuary and respite and having a sports coach there doing classes after school gives them another role model in their lives and allows them to show through sport the characteristics to be successful despite their background.”

Donations for Peacock’s fund-raising challenge can be made at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/runfortheroof.