Manly coach Geoff Toovey says it is for 'good reason' the Bulldogs are the most penalised team in the NRL as he turned up the heat on officials to closely monitor Canterbury's controversial decoy runners on Friday night.
In comments sure to upset Bulldogs boss and ex-Manly coach Des Hasler, Toovey predicted Canterbury would test the obstruction rule to its limit in a bid to find a way through Manly's iron-clad defence in the qualifying final.
The Bulldogs have flirted with the obstruction rule all season, with many coaches privately believing they illegally use 'blockers' to open up space for the likes of Ben Barba.
Toovey is the first to go public with his concerns, strategically timing his comments just days out from the ANZ Stadium showdown.
"If anyone pushes the letter of the law it's the Bulldogs. I think they're the most penalised team in the competition for good reason," Toovey said on Tuesday.
"They play a lot of second phase stuff, with their decoy runners interfering to give Benny Barba a bit of space out wide and I'm sure it is something the referees will look at.
"Those decoy runners are checking defensive players and that could be vital in the semis and I'm sure it is something the referees will look at.
"It's those little things they need to be focusing on come semi-finals because it could cost a team some points."
Referees coach Bill Harrigan sent a DVD to all clubs a fortnight ago in an attempt to clarify what constitutes an obstruction and what does not.
Match officials were also given a refresher course, but the rule is still causing confusion.
Canterbury's opening try against the Roosters in the last round - set up by Barba and scored by Josh Morris - was allowed to stand despite Braith Anasta being taken out of the defensive line by a decoy runner.
Toovey hopes there isn't a repeat in the big end-of-season games.
"I think they (the referees) are smart enough to know, they have done enough homework and research I am sure they are onto it," he said.
"Hopefully it won't be a problem in the semi-finals.
"It comes down to communication between the officials and I'm sure they'll work it out.
"But it has been a clouded area throughout this year. The only thing I am disappointed about is that it has taken this long to do something about it. It is probably a bit late."