Keiron Cunningham fears rugby “could end up like football” after two of his players were charged after his side’s win over Castleford.
The Saints chiefs told of his frustration after Kyle Amor and Travis Burns were both hauled before an RFL disciplinary hearing - and hinted that football-style play-acting was partly to blame.
Burns was charged with making a Grade B reckless high tackle on Justin Carney and Amor with Grade C dangerous contact to the head, neck or spinal column of Jordan Tansey.
Amor was last night handed a two-match ban, while Burns will be out for one game.
Speaking ahead of his players RFL appearances, Cunningham described the charge against Burns, in particular, as “ridiculous”.
He said: “The Travis one, for me, is absolutely ridiculous. If you look at the incident, Carney handed him off in the chin. Travis had no control over any body part because he took a hand in the face.
I think we’ve got be careful, as a competition. The way we’re going with lying down to get penalties - the game’s going to end up like footballSaints chief Keiron Cunningham
“It’s shocked me. It’s really confusing. Carney even said he was willing to speak up on Travis’s behalf. Anybody with common sense could see what’s happened.
“I can understand the Kyle one because he got the kid into a vulnerable position. But Kyle’s a very honest, hard-working player - he’s never had that in his game and wouldn’t do that on purpose.
“I think we’ve got be careful, as a competition. The way we’re going with lying down to get penalties - the game’s going to end up like football. I’ve spoken to the officials about it. It’s not what our sport has ever been about.”
Cunningham described losing both the Aussie playmaker and the consistent front-rower as “a travesty” but named Lance Hohaia, Paul Wellens and Jordan Turner all as possible replacements for Burns. Luke Walsh is still at least “a week or two away” from full fitness.