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Onus always on defender for State of Origin head knocks, referee reaffirms

Article image for Onus always on defender for State of Origin head knocks, referee reaffirms

Gerard Sutton will referee his 20th consecutive State Of Origin game next Wednesday, and has told Mark Levy and Paul Gallen it’s still “a huge thrill”.

He won’t be wasting his energy trying to block out the noise around the NRL’s crackdown on head knocks, instead embracing the passion for the competition.

“The things you’ve got to do don’t change, the stakes are just that bit higher.

“Obviously there has been some adjustment along the way … but really those guidelines have been laid out pretty clear for us.”

Even entirely accidental head knocks will incur a penalty, he said, “no mitigating circumstances [are] taken into account”.

“The onus is entirely on the defender.”

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Mark Levy
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