Stop handling injured opposition and stop trying to milk extra penalties: Referee’s call to players

Super League

Super League referee Robert Hicks has called on players to stop handling injured opposition and to stop milking injuries in order to gain an advantage.

Hicks was appointed the RFL’s director of operations and legal in October 2021. It meant a move to part-time refereeing within the sport but is often seen officiating in the top division.

Speaking on the latest episode of ‘Sin Bin’, the panel, which included chief on-field officer Dave Rotheram, discussed the latest rise of milking penalties.

Hicks also calls on players to stop touching injured opposition or players laying on the ground.

He told present Rod Studd: “We’re big on it because it’s become an issue in the sport this season. Until this year, we’d had one or two incidents across the last three or four years.

“We’ve reminded clubs over the last couple of years about this. As this season has gone on we’ve seen more and more players continue to do it despite an actual email that was sent to clubs part-way through the season.

“The message could not be clearer from the governing body; people have to stop moving injured players, even if they think the player is milking the injury. It’s not for players to make that decision. Leave that to the experts.

“I know that there’s been some criticism within the sport about players milking injuries in order to win penalties.

“We had that incident a few years ago. We managed to get rid of it because the players, the coaches and the referees all worked together to stop it.

‘You’re not helping the look of the sport’

“My advice to the players and coaches would be that you need to call out the players in your own club and they need to stop doing that.

“You’re not helping the look of the sport. It’s about time that players, if they’re injured stay down and receive the treatment they need, and stop trying to milk extra penalties and extra sanctions against opposition players.

“It’s not a good look for the sport and it needs to stop.”

PODCAST: Liam Marshall on almost giving up on rugby league, England hopes & Peet’s Wigan transformation

About Josh McAllister 1909 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.


  1. They both go hand in hand an one leads to the other.
    Players milk penalties to get an advantage, yes, but they know they are protected and that they are essentially untouchable. They know anyone touching them is going to be sent off, even if the injury was fake or exaggerated and all they need to do in any moment is say “oh, it hurt at the time, I thought I was injured” and no one can really question it.

    Players then move players because they get frustrated at opposition players trying to claim penalties, trying to get a tackle looked at on replay etc to get a player sent off because they know that a lot of incidents are now receiving stricter punishment than previously.

    Players need to be addressed regarding moving players, yes, but there are basically no disadvantages to trying to milk a tackle or penalty. There is no way to disprove an injury or pain/discomfort.

    There are players who do it all the time and I can’t stand watching them. They ruin the game and make it drag on. Hint hint Liam Marshall.

  2. I hate to say it, but I gotta agree with Mr Hicks☺️. It is out of line, but it then has to be policed fairly or you lose the fans again.
    Are they also gonna police the growing number of players directing the referees during games. Sam Tomkins is the worst offender, but there are others as well. Constantly talking at referees, constantly complaining. It’s sickening and it’s supposedly against the rules. He ain’t asking questions, he’s directing things.
    Who put em in charge?
    Also the referees need to stop talking/advising players. If they are offside, blow the bloody whistle. Don’t tell em just cos he’s your mate. You ain’t there to coach or advise. Stop it.

  3. It’s a very simple fix this one if a player is injured and the referee has a suspicion that he is milking simply make a team mate play the ball 15 feet away inline with the player and leave the medical staff to attend to the player also include HID injuries to the substitution list if the player returns to the field unless there is a blood bin involved as well.

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