NRL legends drag Mitchell Moses into ugly 'milking' controversy

Mitchell Moses (pictured left) leaving the field and (pictured right) Moses getting tackled.
Mitchell Moses (pictured) was dragged into the 'milking' a penalty debate as Darren Lockyer and Cameron Smith addressed the incident. (Images: Getty Images/Channel Nine)

NRL legends Darren Lockyer and Cameron Smith have hit out at the 'milking' farce that has erupted over the last few weeks and dragged Mitchell Moses into the debate.

The Eels blew Canberra off the park on Friday in a 40-4 win to set up a trip to Townsville to face North Queensland next week, with a spot in the grand final up for grabs.

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Moses put in one of his best performances of the year to send a warning to the NRL.

However, Moses was forced off the field due to a HIA in a moment that had NRL greats talking.

Moses was involved in a heavy tackle with Jack Wighton as he was thumped into the turf.

The Eels halfback didn't immediately get up.

"It didn't look like anything illegal, but he came down hard," Penrith great Greg Alexander said in commentary.

Once he got to his feet, Moses was attended to by a trainer and appeared to shake his head as if to suggest he was fine.

Moses was then ordered off the field for a HIA.

The star No.7 cleared the assessment and was able to return 15 minutes later.

However, the incident prompted both Lockyer and Smith to weigh-in.

Mitchell Moses (pictured left) is taken off the field for a HIA during the NRL Semi Final match between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders.
Mitchell Moses (pictured left) is taken off the field for a HIA during the NRL Semi Final match between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Lockyer suggested that the referees may have started a precedented that if players stay down, but aren't concussed, they will still be forced off the field for a check.

"We've been seeing it for the past few weeks. Sometimes you're going to get hit in the head and you are concussed and you will come from the field. I think we've seen other times players lay down and wait for the Bunker to get a penalty when they haven't got any concussion symptoms," Lockyer said on Channel Nine.

"But in doing that you run the risk of coming off the field for 15 minutes.

"So, I think this is just telling the players that if you want to lay down and try to milk a penalty, off you go for 15 minutes."

Maroons legend Smith added that players toe the line when staying down.

"They tread a fine line," Smith said.

"If they choose to stay on the ground, searching for a penalty, they then run the risk of leaving the field for at least 15 minutes."

Latrell Mitchell denies 'milking' accusations

The debate resurfaced recently during the Rabbitohs and Roosters clash last week.

Latrell Mitchell emphatically denied suggestions he deliberately played for penalties in the chaotic 30-14 win over the Roosters, but says the NRL's bunker has invited him to wait on one knee and ask referees for penalties.

The Bunnies fullback twice waited on one knee and looked at referee Ashley Klein after hits from Connor Watson and Nat Butcher in the second half of the controversial Allianz Stadium clash, which featured seven sin-bins and five HIAs - in which three players failed to return to action.

Darren Lockyer (pictured) speaking during broadcast.
Darren Lockyer (pictured) claimed referees may have found a blueprint to stopping players trying to trick them into giving them a penalty. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The matters prompted premiership-winning coach, Nine commentator and Canterbury general manager of football Phil Gould to claim that Mitchell had "made a farce of rugby league" in the win over the Tricolours.

But Mitchell was adamant he never laid down, and was merely asking the referee if a penalty would be blown.

The Rabbitohs star even offered up a new nickname for himself after being accused of several incidents of gamesmanship.

"Call me Trell-Milk now," Mitchell quipped.

"I've play the game hard and tough and honestly I've never felt the forces that they (the Roosters) brought."

with AAP

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