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Bennett upset over Cronk decision

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has accused Melbourne of deliberately conceding penalties to slow down the game and admitted he no longer knows what constitutes a sin-binning offence in the NRL.
Bennett upset over Cronk decision
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

NEWCASTLE, NSW Aug 18 AAP - Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has accused Melbourne of deliberately conceding penalties to slow down the game and admitted he no longer knows what constitutes a sin-binning offence in the NRL.

Bennett said Cooper Cronk should have spent 10 minutes on the sidelines midway through the second half when he took out Darius Boyd as he advanced towards a Jarrod Mullen chip-kick just 10 metres in front of the Storm's line.

The Test halfback was only penalised by referee Jarrod Maxwell for the offence after he consulted with the video box officials, much to the chagrin of the partisan crowd of 26,822.

And to rub salt into the Knights' wounds, Cronk then went on to set up Billy Slater for the game's decisive try and kicked a field goal as the Storm ran out 23-10 winners at Hunter Stadium.

The result leaves the Knights clinging to a seventh spot, two points ahead of 10th-placed Brisbane who they meet in two weeks' time.

"There's no doubt he should have been sent to the sin-bin. That's not sour grapes, it's a professional foul," Bennett said.

"We were in the act of regathering the ball to score a try and he was taken out - you can't get more deliberate than that.

"I don't know what the sin bin is for because no-one ever goes to it any more."

Melbourne were hammered 10-4 in the penalty count and Bennett has noticed certain teams are happy to impede opponents when under pressure in defence.

"Certainly the top teams, Melbourne today did it, the Roosters when we played them did it as well," he said.

"It's become quite obvious. I can see the reason why they do it, but it's against the spirit of the game as far as I am concerned.

"They buy time, re-establish their defensive lines and back themselves to make sure you don't score from the set of six.

"The only way to stop it is to sin bin players."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy praised the character of his side for grinding out the win after being outplayed for much of the first half.

The win keeps his side in the hunt for a top-two spot on the ladder with the premiers now three points behind leaders Sydney Roosters and South Sydney - who will meet in round 26.

Bellamy said he was unsure if Cronk should have stayed on the field but admitted he was glad that he did.

"I thought it was a real good win. We knew it would be tough and it was," he said.

"If Cooper just turned his back he would have been OK, but he did grab hold of him.

"I am not quite sure what a sin-bin is. A couple of weeks ago when we played the Bulldogs Justin O'Neill got pulled back and Josh Reynolds didn't go to the sin bin.

"I am glad they didn't send him to the sin bin obviously because he's in our team.

"It could have been a sin bin I suppose."


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