Legends hammer Slater’s diving antics: ‘I don’t like it’
LEAGUE legends Brad Fittler and Peter Sterling have savaged NRL superstar Billy Slater for "embarrassing" diving antics to get opponents sent to the sin bin.
For the second time in three games, a Slater quick tap and tumble after receiving minimal contact from a defender prompted a referee to send the hapless "offender" to the sheds for 10 minutes.
Cronulla forward Luke Lewis appeared to barely touch Slater before finding himself in the sin bin in the Sharks' round-four win over Melbourne, before the Storm fullback was involved in a similar incident on Friday night.
This time, Newcastle second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon was given his marching orders and Melbourne immediately capitalised with a try to winger Josh Addo- Carr in their 40-14 victory over the Knights.
On Sunday, Fittler derided Slater's actions as "ridiculous" and urged him to stop, and Sterling went even further.
"Look, I don't like it. It's kind of embarrassing in a way," Sterling said on The Sunday Footy Show on the Nine Network.
"We criticise other sports for other incidents. There's gamesmanship and there's gamesmanship and to me that's going to a level I don't want to see.
"I don't want to think of Billy Slater being associated with something like that. I have such a high regard for him and the way he is received in our game and lauded in our game.
"That shouldn't be in his nature."
Fittler said he hoped the Storm's win in one of the two matches where Slater used the ploy would force the Queensland State of Origin and Australia Test great into a rethink.
"I reckon Bill should most probably cop the math and don't do it again," Fittler said.
Fittler and Sterling are also irritated by the practice of dummy-halves deliberately milking penalties by throwing the ball into defenceless tacklers who don't have time to clear the play-the-ball area.
It happened again on Saturday when Brisbane playmaker Anthony Milford induced a penalty by passing it into Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson in the Broncos' 27-18 win in Auckland.
Fittler, NSW's new Origin coach, said another Maroons great had started that ploy.
"It happened in an Origin game where Cooper Cronk turned around and threw it at Aaron Woods. Actually turned around and threw it at him," he said.
"That's the first time it happened.
"Now if anyone's there they just throw it at them and for some reason the referees can't break down whether it's deliberate or not.
"The one yesterday was crazy."