THE "wrestlemania" debate intensified last night, with Manly coach Geoff Toovey accusing premiership rivals Melbourne and the Bulldogs of not caring if they are penalised for spoiling tactics.
Ahead of his side's sudden-death clash against Melbourne at AAMI Park tonight, Toovey conceded every NRL team, including his Sea Eagles, employed wrestling techniques in a bid to win the ruck and control the tempo of a match.
But Toovey claimed the Storm and Canterbury had no regard for being penalised for play-the-ball infringements, saying the premiership big guns were prepared to back their defence to repel opposition attacks.
Wrestling in league came back into focus on Wednesday when television cameras captured footage of the Bulldogs practising wrestling techniques at training ahead of their grand final qualifier against Souths.
"I think wrestling is more prevalent now, but it's more consistent across the board," Toovey told The Courier-Mail.
"All the teams wrestle, it's just that the Bulldogs and Melbourne give more penalties away than anyone else, because their attitude is, 'We don't care, we'd rather give a penalty away than a try'.
"They accept a penalty will be the result (for a ruck infringement) and they are prepared to deal with whatever the opposition throws at them after the indiscretion."
Souths coach Michael Maguire yesterday dismissed concerns about the prospect of Canterbury trying to stifle the Rabbitohs with wrestling tactics in tomorrow night's preliminary final at ANZ Stadium.
"I think every team practises that area of the game," Maguire said.
"Everyone's doing their practice in various areas and I'm sure they're practising what they need to do and we're focused about what we need to do."
Souths say they will need their forwards to stand up and Issac Luke to dominate so they can nullify Canterbury's wrestling tactics.
"It's going to be a great clash between two big packs and it's about building that momentum. And when we've got that momentum Issac can do a lot of magical things from dummy-half," Maguire said.
Melbourne will start tonight's clash as slight favourites, but Toovey says the defending premiers travel south with no fear.
"We know how Melbourne play, they know how we play, so whoever focuses for the full 80 minutes will win the game," he said. "It will be whoever is prepared to grind away.
"Whilst our players are confident, they aren't overly confident as in they aren't arrogant about it, but there is a quiet sense that we have done this before, we have been here before.
"Defensively, they don't give you much so you have to take every opportunity you get.
"They are a hard team to run down so we need to stay within striking distance at all times."
Former Manly enforcer Mark Carroll said last night: "Whoever wins this game will go on and win the comp."
"Manly have a few injuries so they have to get through the pain. Melbourne will be fresh, but my heart says Manly."