WOLVES boss Tony Smith has criticised the ‘bad spirit’ of the game against Catalan Dragons and expressed his frustration at the leniency with which disciplinary matters have been handled.
Last night, Tuesday, the RFL handed one-match bans to Wolves’ second row Ben Westwood and Catalan full back Brent Webb for ‘grade B one-on-one fighting offences’ following the 72nd minute clash that led to both players being sin-binned on Friday night.
The fight was one of several flare-ups between the two sides during a bad-tempered game and it is unlikely Wolves' head of coaching and rugby will be pleased with the findings of last night's panel.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Smith said: “Do I think Bennie should be banned? No.
“I think the game was, and was allowed to be, played in a bad spirit.
“I don’t think anyone in rugby league minds a game being tough, we saw that against Wigan, a tough game played in good spirit.
“This week wasn’t, there were nasty stuff and nasty incidents, with cheap shots thrown in that shouldn’t happen on the rugby league field and it got out of hand.”
But while TV evidence makes it difficult for Wolves to argue too vehemently against Westwood’s punishment for fighting, Smith’s frustration at the treatment of Dragons stand off Leon Pryce is much more understandable.
Pryce appeared to lash out at a kneeling Richie Myler during the 19th minute of Friday’s game, but avoided suspension for the ‘grade A striking with the leg’ offence by means of an early guilty plea.
“It doesn’t matter what I think should happen in terms of bans, but things have changed from when I was brought through rugby league,” said Smith.
“A couple of boys sorting themselves out face to face, that was acceptable.
“A guy on the ground and a guy standing on his feet was viewed in a different way.
“Richard was on the ground, the other guy was on his feet and attacks him.
“It is not my views that count, it is other people’s, and things have changed in the time I have been around rugby league obviously.”