RFL comfortable with punching stance

The RFL won’t be reviewing its policy on punching and has no plans to introduce an NRL-style ‘no-punching’ stance next season.

The NRL brought in an edict that players would be automatically sent to the sin-bin for punching following Paul Gallen’s attack on Nate Myles in the opening game of State of Origin in 2013.

NRL referees boss Daniel Anderson said at the time the crackdown was crucial for the recruitment of young players and for the future of the game.

The RFL came under fire last week after Ben Flower’s graphic two-punch assault on Lance Hohaia in the Super League Grand Final, which made news around the world.

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The Wigan prop was sent off three minutes into the match and has since been given a six-month ban by the RFL.

An RFL spokesman told League Express the governing body would not be reviewing its policy on punching as a consequence of the incident in the Grand Final.

“Since the start of 2013 the RFL has taken a strong stance on punching in play,” the spokesman said.

“In the last two seasons, the overwhelming majority of players who threw a punch were charged – and found guilty. Only in exceptional circumstances is a player who throws a punch not charged.

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“In the 2013 Super League season, 32 charges were brought against players for punching, all of whom were found guilty. In 2014, not including the Grand Final, 21 charges were brought against players for punching, and all were again found guilty. The policy is clearly taking effect and coaches and players are to be congratulated on their improved discipline.”