8 Aug 2016

Jarryd Hayne escapes charge for ref touch

6:16 pm on 8 August 2016

Jarryd Hayne has welcomed the NRL's decision not to sanction him after he made contact with referee Gavin Reynolds in Gold Coast's round 22 loss to the Warriors yesterday.

Jarryd Hayne gets to grips with the 15-a-side game at training.

Jarryd Hayne Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

In his first game back in the National Rugby League after almost two years away, Hayne became embroiled in the governing body's crackdown on players making contact with match officials when he appeared to walk into Reynolds.

However, Hayne's name was not on the match review committee's charge list when it was released today.

The decision came less than a week after St George Illawarra back-rower Tyson Frizell was suspended for one-match for making slight contact with referee Chris James.

When asked about the incident Hayne admitted he was in the swelling ranks of players, officials and fans who cannot fathom the NRL's hardline approach on contact with match officials.

"I tried to stay as far away as I could. I don't know what I did. Was it a touch or did he walk back into me? I'm not too sure," Hayne said.

"I really don't understand what the go is with the whole 'accidentally touching the ref thing'.

"It's probably the biggest mind-blowing thing. That a person can miss a week for accidentally touching a ref. It's sad for someone to miss a week for a non-aggressive thing."

Meanwhile, fears are growing that the NRL's crackdown on players making contact with referees could have an undue influence on the finals series.

The Frizell suspension has all NRL players on edge just a month out from the finals.

Canterbury prop David Klemmer was the first player to test the limits of referee contact when he successfully fought a two-match ban at the judiciary in March.

But incidents of match-official contact and the suspensions handed out since have only served to muddy the waters on the controversial issue.

Frizell's contact did not appear as forceful as Klemmer's touch on Ben Cummins in the round two win over Penrith in March.

But St George Illawarra star Frizell's ban came in the week after the NRL moved to redefine how 'intentional' contact with a referee would constitute a ban.

Five months after he avoided a ban, Klemmer said he was still unsure if contact with a referee might or might not sideline him for a finals match.

"Definitely, it is semi-final time you don't want to be missing a week for that," he said at Bulldogs training.

"They have to clarify that and bring in (a) more common sense (approach).

"If you push the referee sure it is one of those cases (for suspension).

"If you are telling a referee to buzz off in his face or using rude words and then pushing him out of they way ...but if it is just a case of `sorry sir' just and you are getting out of the way that should be OK."