Peter Sterling was one of the NRL's most creative playmakers when he wore the No. 7 jumper for the dominant Parramatta sides of the 1980s.

You only need to watch old footage of him performing elaborate wrap-around plays from a tap after a penalty to see that.

But he's no fan of unnecessary flashiness.

That much was evident during the Eels' 30-18 win over the Dragons on Monday night. At one stage Parramatta centre Brad Takairangi attempted a no-look pass to his winger Michael Gordon that was pulled up by the officials for travelling forwards.


Commentating on Triple M, an exasperated Sterling vented his frustration at modern-day players who feel the need to throw the Steeden without looking where they want it to go.

"What is a no-look pass? What does it do? The player is committed, it makes no difference to him (the defender) whether the ball carrier is looking at the defender or at his support player. He's committed," Sterling said.

"They bug the s*** out of me, no-look passes. They're so unnecessary. They just take something that's easy and make it complicated."

No-look passes have become the norm since players with ridiculous skill levels like Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson started making the impossible possible, but it's not a fad Sterling wants to see continue in the game, particularly if it results in an error.

It's not the first time the 56-year-old has taken a swipe at a worrying trend in rugby league these days. During the Round 21 match between the Gold Coast Titans and Cronulla Sharks that ended in a draw in Queensland, he unloaded on players who have more on their mind than just getting on with the job of playing.

After Cronulla's Andrew Fifita had a go at Greg Bird when the NSW veteran conceded a penalty, Sterling had a message for the big bopper and anyone else who wanted to ridicule opponents for their mistakes - 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.
"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 front-rower 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.