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Former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke criticized for ‘knowing nothing’ about NRL in fiery interview

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Michael Clarke was accused of ‘knowing nothing about rugby league’ as he and veteran journalist Phil Rothfield were involved in a heated radio discussion about how referee Ashley Klein handled a brutal clash between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs defeated their arch-rivals 30-14 in an explosive elimination final on Sunday at Allianz Stadium, with a record seven sin bins, several high tackles and five players sent off for a head injury assessment – three of which failed.

Bunnies prop Tom Burgess and his teammate Taane Milne, Hanen enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and winger Joseph Sualii were all charged by the NRL judiciary.

Referee Ashley Klein sent a record seven players at Allianz Stadium on Sunday

However, during the Big Sports Breakfast on Sky Sports Radio on Monday morning, Clarke criticized Klein’s handling of the game.

The former Australian cricket captain said he felt like he was watching an ‘under 10’ match due to the way Klein led the game at Allianz Stadium.

“I feel like it’s under 10. Yes, there were some highs, I agree Buzz [Rothfield] But please, it’s not contact, give me a break.’

Clarke, who co-hosts the Big Sports Breakfast with former New South Wales legend Laurie Daley, went on to argue that Klein “should have set a standard at the start of the game.”

Victor Radley received a yellow card just four minutes into the game on Sunday

Victor Radley received a yellow card just four minutes into the game on Sunday

Rothfield argued that the referee had in fact attempted to evict his stall early, when he scapegoated Roosters branded Victor Radley just four minutes into the game.

However, he noted that players were no longer afraid of being shown a yellow card, as the NRL has “the softest judiciary in the world” and were willing to push the boundaries as far as possible.

“Players will risk going to the sin box, but they know it’s going to be okay and they won’t get a decent suspension like they used to,” he said.

Until players are banned for their actions, nothing will change. The sin bin doesn’t work anymore.’

Michael Clarke argued during the Big Sports Breakfast Monday that Klein had lost control of the game and he whistled it like it was an 'under 10' game

Michael Clarke argued during the Big Sports Breakfast Monday that Klein had lost control of the game and he whistled it like it was an ‘under 10’ game

But veteran NRL journalist Phil Rothfield accused him of knowing nothing about rugby league

But veteran NRL journalist Phil Rothfield accused him of knowing nothing about rugby league

Clarke suggested that no more than three sin-bins should have been in the game, prompting Rothfield to question whether he’d seen the game at all.

“Mate, it’s the NRL. It is at the highest level. That’s the sport.

‘It’s like you know what? Don’t bowl bouncers in cricket. ‘Cause if it hits you on the head, it hurts […] you just need to throw the ball up. That’s what we’re trying to create in rugby league. […] The umpires were worthless.’

Clarke then argued that Burgess should have been ejected for his high tackle on James Tedesco, which resulted in the Roosters captain failing an HIA.

Radley was one of two players to be thrown into sin twice in a brutal encounter

Radley was one of two players to be thrown into sin twice in a brutal encounter

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves faces four-game ban after brutal hit to Tom Burgess

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves faces four-game ban after brutal hit to Tom Burgess

Burgess was charged with a Grade 2 High Tackle Careless Violation for the incident. He faces up to three weeks off if he chooses to challenge the charges, or a two-game suspension with an early admission of guilt.

The England international will be suspended for at least: the Bunnies’ semi-final with Cronulla on Saturday and for the preliminary final against Penrith, Souths should get that far.

“If that’s not an inconsistency you’re right about, then I don’t know what is,” Clarke said, suggesting Klein should have turned Burgess off.

Rothfield quickly intervened: ‘If you knew more about rugby league, you would. You know nothing about it.’

Burgess himself faces two-game ban after being charged with high tackle on James Tedesco

Burgess himself faces two-game ban after being charged with high tackle on James Tedesco

The discussion grew fiercer and Clarke fired back at the veteran Daily Telegraph journalist.

‘You know everything because you’ve played 100 practice matches? Go on,’ he said.

“You watch the same TV as I do. I watched it for 41 years, you watched 80. You’ve played exactly the same number of Origin games as I have.”

Rothfield went on to add that the confrontation at Allianz Stadium was “a shocking advertisement” for rugby league, absolving Klein of any responsibility for “he would not have sent one of those boys to the sin bin without returning from the bunker.’

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