OPINION:It's time to stop blaming the NRL refs
You may struggle to hear the praise over the cries of rugby league's impending death from frustrated fans but the referees have finally got it right.
A staggering 33 penalties in Cronulla Sharks' 14-4 win against Melbourne Storm overshadowed the game's commentary, both in the broadcast and on social media.
The clash, in which Sharks flyer Edrick Lee scored the only try of the contest, will be remembered more for the sound of the referee's whistle, the 28 errors, Billy Slater's shocking dive, and Cameron Smith's sin bin stint for dissent.
Many fans blame the referees and NRL HQ, but when will the players ever take responsibility?
The first three games of the fourth round has featured almost 80 penalties.
Do NRL referees blow too many penalties?
This poll ended on 01 April 2018.
Yes - they have to stop blowing penalties.
Yes - they need to blow more and stamp indiscretions out of the game.
No - it’s fine as it is.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Penrith's 33-14 win against the Cowboys featured 21, Souths' last-gasp 20-16 win against the Bulldogs featured 24 penalties for a total of 77 after the Sharks-Storm exhibition.
Many fans blame the refs, but they wouldn't have anything to do if players respected and abided the rules.
Simple things like offsides, holding down - the stuff fans have complained about the lack of action for decades.
Former players enthusiastically lined up for a crack at the destruction of the game they love, and most seemingly blamed the man with the whistle and not those in the coloured jerseys breaking simple rules.
Rugby league is a simple game, but coaches at the highest level have searched endlessly for ways to exploit the grey areas to gain an advantage.
Something as simple as the play-the-ball. It's penalised frequently at local level if you don't perform the simplest act correctly, but NRL players have gotten away with not doing so for at least a decade.
Bravo, to the referees for finally cracking down on the little things.
The little things are what frustrates fans most.
You don't have to be a long-term supporter to be familiar with cries of "get him outside" and "he's been doing it all day" that echo at every footy ground, every game.
It won't take long for players and coaches to learn basic rule-shirking won't be tolerated, and it could be quicker if they men in the middle are encouraged to use the sin bin more often.
Give the referees full support to iron these infuriating aspects out of the game. Players will learn if you persist, and the game will be better for it.