NRL boss Peter V'Landys has been embroiled in a wave of criticism over the refereeing crackdown in Magic Round that saw 24 charges, 14 sin-bins and three send-offs, but prominent commentator Andrew Voss says it's all gone too far.
The controversial refereeing edict, which V'landys has openly stated was to insulate the NRL from future legal action brought by players who may suffer adverse medical impacts from repeated head trauma.
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In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, V'landys said some of the abuse he had received over the push to eliminate high shots from the game was 'not for the faint-hearted' but that he wouldn't be swayed.
"Don’t get me wrong, it has been a very hard week for me. It’s been awful actually. But I know I am doing the right thing,” he said.
“We are all human and I am not superman. I have emotions and feelings like everyone else. And you think it doesn’t hurt you but it does.
“I don’t know why people spew out hate. Is this where we have come to in this world? I could sit back and do nothing and enjoy the game and watch it like everybody else."
V'Landys went on to say he was the one who had 'the power' to try to eradicate unneccesary high shots from the game.
While Voss isn't exactly V'landys' biggest cheerleader, the veteran Fox Sports commentator launched a spirited defence of the NRL boss on Wednesday evening.
Voss said criticism of V'landys had crossed the line from pointed and constructive, to simply personal abuse.
“He’s a big boy, and he’s been in this position for a while now, but perhaps even Peter wasn’t prepared for the level of hate and scorn from fans of the game," Voss said.
“He concedes, not surprisingly, what is hard to cop is the effect it has on his family.
“I’ve copped it before, I go the attitude of – block, ignore, delete.
“We’ve witnessed the rise of abuse that comes via social media towards players and athletes, it’s way over the top.
“Surely, any rational, decent person would agree with that."
Players adapt to NRL rules as Origin looms
NSW hooker Damien Cook is all for the NRL's crackdown on contact with the head and neck, saying it's on players to adapt quickly before it infiltrates State of Origin.
The first game of the 2021 series is three weeks away and while the South Sydney star supports stamping out dangerous contact, he doesn't want to see mass sin-binnings and send-offs enter the Origin arena.
Already the NRL has confirmed the tough stance that saw 14 sin-bins and three send-offs in Magic Round will be upheld during this year's Origin series which begins on June 9 at the MCG.
It has put the onus back on players to adapt quickly to protect the game's showpiece event, which is usually officiated more leniently than a regular NRL game.
While Cook said the unspoken rule of leniency usually leads to a more entertaining contest, he supports the NRL's stance on player safety.
Quizzed on Tuesday whether players are adaptable enough to get the message before Origin I, Cook said they have been with other changes.
"The shoulder charge, everyone has changed that," he said.
"It's going to happen every now and then, but that's what penalties are for, but even with the six-again rule, no one is really worried about it anymore.
"You watch teams cop a six-again and they just get on with it and defend it.
"That's the way the game goes.
"The game is very adaptable and that's what we like about it.
"We don't want to change too much but you want to change certain things to create a new game, better entertainment and we're heading in the right direction."
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