Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has renewed calls for the NRL to consider introducing the captain’s challenge as a way to increase fatigue in the game.
Brown’s comments come a day after the governing body confirmed the competition committee would look at reducing the interchange from eight to six at the end of the season.
It also came after play was stopped for an injured Viliame Kikau for a few minutes early in the Knights’ 29-18 loss to Penrith on Friday night.
Brown complained that Kikau was allowed time to recover and continue his assault on smaller Knights five-eighth Connor Watson for the rest of the night.
“Why not just let the game go? They were going to get the ball anyway, and there’s a minute’s stoppage already. There’s so many stupid things like that that we’re doing as a game,” Brown said.
Brown went on to claim that the NRL hadn’t asked for feedback from the Knights when the captain’s challenge was trialled in a dead-rubber match against St George Illawarra in 2016.
He said it not only would further reduce stoppages, but it would be another way to alleviate pressure from match officials.
“The video ref never got called into the game at all in that contest and no one really bothered ringing us up and asking us any feedback what we thought about it, so it was a waste of time doing it,” he said.
“The reduced interchange would help open the game up so I’d be a fan of it, but we can do other things in the meantime which can help give us more time on the field, get more fatigue in the game as well.”
Brown was also scathing of his team’s ill-discipline against the Panthers, including a Watson brain snap that denied teammate Jacob Saifiti a crucial try in the first half.
It came moments before Watson also failed to connect with Brock Lamb for another certain try.
“I’m not really bothered by the pass. Those things happen. That can happen in the run of the play and he can look at it and think maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it, maybe I should’ve took them on,” Brown said.
“I’m more disappointed in the discipline one because we can’t afford to have that.”