No punch makes soft people tough: Stuart

·2-min read

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has called on the NRL to eradicate ugly jumper-pulling scuffles, saying no-punch laws have made 'soft people very tough'.

Stuart believes players are engaging in the "silly and unnecessary" melees because the 2013 rule providing automatic sin-binning for punching means they have no fear of being hurt.

Stuart's comments are in response to Penrith's Stephen Crichton getting a $1350 fine for instigating a melee in last week's game against the Raiders.

Crichton pulled Raiders forward Joe Tapine into a Penrith huddle celebrating a Panthers try, sparking an all-in push and shove.

A Canberra trainer was spotted touching a Panthers player in the melee, attracting a $10,000 breach notice from the NRL.

It prompted Raiders boss Don Furner to say the Panthers need to be taught some humility, a stance Stuart agrees with.

"Don handled it really well," Stuart said.

"(Crichton's behaviour) was unnecessary and silly.

"This jumper pulling and grabbing blokes by the back of the jumper and trying to pull them out of melees is a blight on the game.

"It's ugly and makes soft people very tough because you know you're not going to get a punch in the head.

"There's no consequences ... Which is why so many people fly into it."

Stuart called for the NRL to take action on the trend.

"I just wish the league could do something about it and eradicate it," he said.

"It was only four or five years ago I was saying it was ugly in Aussie Rules and now we've got it."

It comes as the Raiders prepare to play Parramatta at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.

The Eels were beat up by St George Illawarra last week and, like the Raiders, are desperate to rebound quickly.

The Raiders are without star fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to a neck injury with Caleb Aekins filling in the No.1 jersey, while the Eels are without five-eighth Dylan Brown.

"Every club is in the same boat at the moment, it's very hard to have your full roster available with how tough the game is," said Eels coach Brad Arthur.

"We're going down there, it's going to be cold and 7.30 at night against a tough opposition who are disappointed with their result last week so we'll have a game on our hands."