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By STEVE MASCORD
VETERAN Michael Crocker is edging closer to re-signing with South Sydney for another year, according to his agent.
The finals kicked off last weekend with the talismanic hard man’s future under a cloud amid reports he wanted a two year contract and the bunnies were only willing to offer him one.
But manager Andrew Purcell says that is no longer an issue and it is now a case of how much players and clubs were going to get out of the new NRL TV deal.
Purcell said he was not talking to any other clubs on Crocker’s behalf.
“Obviously you don’t want to shut off the possibility of playing on longer than a year or whatever, Purcell tells Rugby League Week.
“But things are fine there, that’s not an issue.
“He wants to stay and they want to keep him.
“We just don’t know what’s going to happen regarding the TV deal.
“Will players get a lump sum? Will the salary cap go up? Will the ARLC give match payments?
“Until we know that it doesn’t seem like there is any great rush to finalise things.
“We haven’t completely reached other terms yet either but it’s looking good.’
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK
By STEVE MASCORD
SOUTH Sydney veteran Michael Crocker has called on all NRL players to wage a campaign aimed at getting the video referee to butt out of high tackles.
Crocker, who hit the headlines for criticising on Twitter NSW captain Paul Gallen over the practices of diving and staying on the ground for penalties, has detailed his thoughts on the issue for Rugby League Week.
And he wants the video referees’ powers to be dramatically reduced so players stop trying to get their attention.
“I think if we stick together and really voice our opinions on it, say we want to get rid of players playing for penalties and get it back to what it used to be … then hopefully the NRL and the commission will listen and help us change it,” said Crocker.
“If it’s worthy of a send-off, the referee shouldn’t miss it. There’s a pocket referee and a normal referee out there.
“The video referee shouldn’t be involved at all. They should be there purely for tries. Just like it used to be: if you can get up and play the ball, you get up and play it.
“If you can’t and the referee doesn’t think there’s anything in it, get someone else to play the ball. If there is anything in it, that’s up to the match review committee to assess.”
Crocker said preventing all contact with the head off attackers was “not possible”. “You’re always going to have accidental contact – people will always fall into a chest or a shoulder or a knee,” he said.
“You can’t rule that out totally. Obviously anything that’s got intent, recklessness or carelessness – that’s what we’re trying to rub out of the game.
“The referees can make that decision on the field.”
Crocker was penalised for a high tackle on St George Illawarra captain Ben Hornby in the 67th minute of Sunday’s golden point win by the bunnies.
“It’s hard with those ones – Ben slipped and there was contact there,” Crocker said. “I think it’s just up to the referees to make a decision and once they make a decision, get on with it.
“Obviously there’s going to be contact but I think if the referees see intent or recklessness or carelessness in the tackle, then that’s when (it should be penalised.
“If there’s accidental contact, I think they call play on, you get up and play the ball and the game plays on.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK
By MATT ROSSLEIGH
SOUTH Sydney co-captain Michael Crocker has thrown his support behind former team-mate Chris Sandow after Parramatta icon Peter Sterling said the current Eels halfback was overweight.
Sterling told Triple M on Monday that he thought Sandow was playing “four or five kilos above what he should be playing,” but
Crocker says it’s more about Sandow being out of form than being unfit.
“It’s hard to tell with Chrissy (Sandow), he’s a little nugget so it’s hard to tell if he’s actually carrying anything,” Crocker said at Redfern Oval.
“It’s probably more so that he’s not taking the line on than anything and that’s why he’s (Sterling) probably saying he’s unfit.
“Chrissy is at his best when he’s taking the line on and I don’t think he’s been doing that.”
Sandow was Parramatta’s high profile signing in the off-season from the Rabbitohs but since joining the Eels he has only managed a single victory out of the opening six matches – leaving the club last on the ladder.
“It’s hard going to a new club and of course he’s under pressure being one of their major signings and one of their major playmakers,” said Crocker.
“It’s a lot harder for a half to go into a team and take over than it is for any other player.
“I’m sure the more he works with Ben Roberts and Jarryd Hayne and they get their combinations right the better they’ll be.”
Sandow has been replaced in the South Sydney team by Adam Reynolds, and Crocker says the young half is improving with every week in the top grade.
“His (Reynolds) control has been great, he’s directed us around the park a lot better and his kicking game has been great all the way
through the season and I think he’s going to get better,” the former Australian international said.
“The more he plays the more his confidence is going to grow and they’re forming a pretty good combination out there, Issac (Luke),
John (Sutton) and Adam.
“He’s really starting to come out of his shell a bit and blossoming into a good player.”
Souths will travel to Auckland for Sunday’s clash with the Warriors looking to win three matches on the trot for the first time since the back end of last season when the side went on to win four games in a row before narrowly missing out on the finals.