Peter Sterling, Paul Gallen unhappy with some aspects of rugby league

Peter Sterling is up there with the most respected minds in rugby league. Photo / Getty Images.
Peter Sterling is up there with the most respected minds in rugby league. Photo / Getty Images.

Peter Sterling is up there with the most respected minds in rugby league.

The former Parramatta halfback is the most insightful commentator in the game, so when he speaks, we'd all do well to listen and take notes.

Calling Monday night's 18-all draw between the Gold Coast Titans and Cronulla Sharks in Queensland, Sterling was clearly fed up with one thing - and perhaps more specifically - one player.

Prone to a brain snap and always toeing the line between aggression and stupidity - just look at his inexplicable attack on Gavin Cooper in Origin III - Sharks forward Andrew Fifita earnt Sterling's wrath for not being able to just get on with the business of playing the game he's paid so handsomely to play.

The 27-year-old is often targeted by opposition teams to niggle, because they know he's easily riled up and just as likely to give away a silly penalty as he is to pull off a miracle offload - something he does pretty often.

Monday night was no different. In a tight contest, he was among the argy bargy all night long. If a Titans player made a mistake, he wasn't short of a word reminding them they'd just let their team down.

But Sterling had a message to Fifita and anyone else who wants to focus on rubbing their opponents' noses in their errors rather than focusing on their own games - shut up and play.

"I'm sorry, there are some players in the game who deadset need to have one put on their chin," Sterling said on Triple M radio after Fifita had a go at Greg Bird for conceding a penalty.

"There are some players involved in this game who start talking when something goes wrong against their opponents. They just need one on their chin."

The ex-Eel tried to clarify he wasn't speaking just about Fifita, but his fellow commentators laughed, clearly not believing him.

"I just like actions to do the talking. There's a few that I would just prefer they did something great and didn't have to carry on," he said.

"I find it really distasteful when there's verbal that goes on after mistakes are made or something happens ... I like the silent assassins."

Later, Fifita scored a try under the sticks which, when converted, levelled the scores to send the game into golden-point. Cue another round of push and shove after the big bopper shoved a Titans player in the head.

"It's just what Pete has been talking about. All he had to do was score the try and walk away but instead he shoved someone in the head," former referee Bill Harrigan said on Triple M.

That little brouhaha looked for a moment like it could spark into something bigger as players from both sides got involved. Cronulla centre Jack Bird came steaming in and shoved Titans prop Luke Douglas to the ground, and former teammates and renowned bash brothers Paul Gallen and Greg Bird went at it.

Speaking to Matty Johns on Fox Sports after the match last night, Bird claimed he'd got the better of the former NSW skipper by landing a couple of cheeky left jabs on Gallen's chin.

Normally one to back his players to the hilt, even Gallen took issue with Jack Bird rushing in.

"Someone ran in and pushed him (Fifita) in the back of the head," Gallen told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast.

"I think it's a major issue for the game. I support the idea that you can't punch guys any more, but this is a worse look than that.

"He got whacked in the back of the head by Ryan James and then Jack Bird ran in 20m to smash someone. I won't say anything bad about Jack Bird. I love him. But he was able to run in and smash somebody without any fear. It's a worse look for the game than throwing punches.

"They've got to go to the sin bin for that. It's a poor look for the game.

"These guys like the wingers, the outside backs and halfbacks, they've got no fear running in and smashing a front-rower. I think that's a lot more dangerous than throwing punches."

Cronulla's 15-game winning streak came to an end on the Gold Coast when no side was able break the 18-all deadlock in extra time.

-News.com.au

- news.com.au

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