The NRL has defended referee Ashley Klein and the Bunker after a staggering seven sin-bins during South Sydney's dramatic elimination final win over the Roosters on the weekend.
Souths won 30-14 in front of a crowd of en electric 39, 816 at Allianz Stadium in a fiery clash between the old rivals.
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Revenging their loss from the week earlier, tempers flared as Klein sent Victor Radley and Taane Milne twice to the bin during the wild contest,
As well as the seven sin bins, five players were sent for head injury assessments (HIAs), with three of those players ruled out for the remainder of the contest.
Many fans and commentators insisted that it ruined the spectacle.
However, NRL's head of football Graham Annesley defended Klein's decisions and said the players repeatedly crossed the line during the contest.
"I don't think it's necessarily what we want to see in our game," Annesley told reporters.
"The game has worked very hard over a long period of time, going back decades, to eliminate foul play from our game and player misconduct.
"Yesterday, the players overstepped the mark on a number of occasions.
"We've got a responsibility as a game to the entire community. Some of those (sin-binning) occasions were not an acceptable way to play the game."
Annesley later added that the lack of control from players was not a good look for the game.
"There was a lack of discipline by the players," he said.
"That's not in the hands of the match officials, that's in the hands of the players and how they approach the game.
"Yesterday, we saw a whole range of incidents that took place where the players frankly took those decisions out of the hands of the referees and the bunker.
"It was disappointing that we saw as many incidents in the game as we did."
Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell avoid trouble
While a number of players were finding themselves in the sin-bin, Rabbitohs stars Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell avoided trouble.
And Walker said ahead of the match that the pair had resolved to focus on football, not on the blow-ups that could agitate them.
"Both of us are aware that teams are going to try and bait us or do that sort of stuff," Walker told reporters.
"It's about us being mature and not falling into that type of game and playing our style of footy.
"I thought that's what we did last night."
The strategy paid off.
Walker set up four of the Rabbitohs' five tries in a man-of-the-match performance.
Mitchell scored the four-pointer that gave the Rabbitohs the lead at half-time and had a hand in the try that opened the scoring.
The pair's footy-first strategy was especially influential in calming the Rabbitohs down when they lost two men to the sin bin on two separate occasions.
"It was quite chaotic out there, there wasn't much you could do with 11 players on the field," Walker said.
"You just have to get through your sets and try to hold the ball for long periods to try and get the boys on the field as quickly as possible."
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