Liam Watts believes the game has gone soft.
The Castleford prop believes the sport is trying to be something it isn’t and has lost the toughness that made the game what it was.
In a brutally honest interview about the state of the game, Watts, who put in a superb performance in Castleford’s victory over Catalans, was critical of the game for trying to be too clean.
“It’s losing that bit of an edge now where it’s become very soft in areas where it should be tough,” Watts told League Express.
“That’s why we play this game, because it is tough. I’m slowly watching some of the kids stuff now and I just don’t know where the game is going with some of the things they’re bringing in. It’s one of those things, it’s out of my control.
“There are some tough players out there still but the game is changing. You could get away with stuff five or six years ago but now they’re just trying to cut everything out and make it squeaky clean.
“You’ve been brought up to play a game that no matter who is in front of you, you want to try and hurt them. But they’re trying to cut it out now where you can’t do little things. I’m not saying the blatant things, but some of the dangerous position things, players are going to get put in those positions because the game is getting quicker, faster and stronger.
“I remember getting done for a dangerous trip against Catalans and I got three games, but if I run past that tackle I’m getting a bollocking in training.”
The forward played over an hour in the front-row for Cas in their victory over the Dragons, but he thinks players are being asked to do too much.
“The interchanges have come down so there’s more pressure on players to play more minutes than they should be doing.
“Everything is getting based on the NRL, but we’re not the NRL, we’re Super League, it’s a totally different competition. The conditions they play under week in, week out, are different to over here. I don’t understand why we keep basing everything on the NRL.”
And Watts also believes there are several players trying to cheat referees.
“It’s definitely in there, I know numerous players who do that. I could name them but that’s not part and parcel. It’s natural that sometimes it slips in the game, but that’s not the sport we play. There are players who try and con penalties on a consistent basis.”