Former Australia and Queensland forward Gorden Tallis has accused NRL coaches of "rorting the system" by hiring ex-referees to teach their players how to bend the rules.
Tallis urged coaches to stop complaining about how the game is officiated and said it was time they shouldered some of the blame for the current controversy surrounding referees that is plaguing the game.
It comes amid another NRL crackdown on attempts to slow down the play-the-ball following an email from referees boss Bernard Sutton to clubs last week.
"I'll tell you what they've got to change, is the coaches breaking the rules. Every single club has an ex-referee in there. Why? To rort the system," Tallis told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.
"To cheat any way possible.
"Brisbane the other day, (Anthony) Milford had his hand on the ball three or four times to stop Penrith from playing the ball quick because they were under the pump.
"Who taught him to do that? That's not cool.
"...Todd Greenberg, that's what he's got to look at.
"The players and coaches are at fault, not the referees. Because you've got 34 guys out there doing the wrong thing and it's really hard."
Tallis said referees should be given more power to send off players who make repeated ruck infringements.
"Seriously, stop whinging about it, because the style of footy we're seeing now is because they cracked down so early in the year," he said.
"Just leave the referees alone, they'll do their job, the players have to do theirs. And stop coaching them to break the rules."
Tallis also defended the NRL's much-maligned bunker, saying it gets far more decisions right than wrong.
"What it does is it puts (referee) mistakes under a microscope," he said.
"If you turn on any Friday night footy and you see those tries in the corner, we all go, 'he didn't get the ball down'.
"And when we see the replay, it shows that he gets it down. So all those tries would be no tries.
"There's rubbers on the end of pencils. Our game is ridiculous with that. We love throwing everybody under the bus."