Sean O'Loughlin hopes for common sense over obstruction rule

Sean O'Loughlin of Wigan
Sean O'Loughlin of Wigan

England captain Sean O'Loughlin says the new interpretation on the obstruction rule in rugby league is making it easier to "milk" penalties but his club coach says he would consider dropping any of his players who took that option.

Wigan Warriors boss Shaun Wane is calling for more honesty from players over the latest blight on Super League, which has seen frustration grow over the number of tries disallowed for tentative obstructions on defenders by dummy runners.

Wane believes it is a form of gamesmanship akin to diving in football and O'Loughlin admits it is creeping more into Super League.

"It's a lot easier now to play for the penalty than it used to be because they're penalising leads on defenders that aren't really affecting the next pass," said the Wigan skipper.

"It's giving defenders an easy option to make a bad read and get a penalty from it.

"It's very hard to make it black and white but I think if someone is checked and there is a score two plays further out, it has no effect on the try.

"There has to be some common sense. It's a tough area to police but we're leaning so far to the defence that we're making it easy for defenders to play for the penalty."

Wane was so incensed over the decision to disallow a Joe Burgess try in the opening stages against Catalans Dragons that he sought clear-the-air talks with the Rugby Football League's match officials department.

He says he now has accepted the clampdown and believes it will force teams to change the way they attack.

"I've a better understanding of it now, having spoken to them," Wane said. "I don't necessarily agree with it but I know how they're judging it now and it's pretty straight forward.

"From an ex-player point of view, it's not good. I'll be changing things and I think every team will. You need to be very smart, it's going to change the way you attack.

"That's the rule and we have to coach to it and make the best of it.

"I hope we never see it where players are looking for it and exaggerating it. I would never dream of telling my players to do that and I think we're going down a sticky road if we do.

"I detest it. I would consider dropping a player if they did that.

"But rugby league players are very honest and I don't think we'll go down that route. I sincerely hope we don't.

"Just make a defender make a decision and, if it's the wrong decision, then it's the wrong decision, live with it."

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