YORK City Knights star Ben Cockayne has called on rugby league's governing body to ban players for "cheating" in bids to win penalties.

Recent high-profile incidents whereby players try to buy penalties in and around rucks - most notably in Catalans' Easter Monday victory over Castleford - has led to a rare mid-season amendment to the laws of the game by the Rugby Football League.

These quick alterations concern players deliberately playing the ball into a tackler on the ground or blatantly throwing it at an opponent stranded offside after a tackle, in order to get a free-kick. Now, trying to gain such a penalty while going against the "spirit of the game" becomes a penalty in itself.

Cockayne, currently sidelined with a knee injury and therefore not involved in the Knights' Championship match in Toulouse today, took to social media to lambast the “cheats” via his Youtube channel 'Life of Charlie'.

"Ban them," he said. "Ban them from coming out next week, because there's no room in our great game for players who are cheating.

"At the moment it's making a mockery of the game.

"I'm not a superstar player who's played at the top or who's a big voice, but I am somebody who is passionate about our game - I've played it since I was seven years old - and I don't want it to end up where all we're doing is talking like we talk about footballers diving about.

"That's the way people are going to start talking about us as rugby players if we're not careful, because there are that many people diving about, cheating, now."

He also had a word for his fellow pros, saying: "If you are someone who's behaving like that on the field, first and foremost you're embarrassing yourself.

"You're cheating, which is not what rugby lads are about, and the most important thing for me is that there are kids watching and following what we do.

"You can probably go to an amateur game at grassroots level and see kids doing what we saw on the TV last weekend.

"But we're rugby players. We pride ourselves on being tough, honest blokes, but at the moment we're seeing blokes not being very honest."

He added: "I respect all rugby players, particularly fellow professionals, but, lads, we can't be carrying on like we are doing, diving about, jumping about, cheating the referees, putting the referees in a bad position.

"How about we do our jobs properly - try to play rather than try to cheat - then we won't have to worry about refs making decisions on it."

He added: "If it's a blatant way of trying to cheat or manipulate a penalty, then you should be penalised or maybe put in the sin-bin.

"I would go as far as saying 'ban him' depending on how far players are going with it."

Cockayne lambasted anyone who encouraged such cheating, but said: "I just can't see any coaches teaching that. It's down to the players at the end of the day, so, lads, if you are doing it, stop.

"If you agree with what I'm saying, shout about it, because the more attention we get on it, the more we humiliate the people that are cheating."

A veteran of more than 330 professional games, the vast majority in Super League, Cockayne added: "I've never been a fully-fledged international but I've played at a good standard and if we can get more players at a higher level speaking about this stuff, it's going to get eradicated pretty quickly.

"The big thing for me is that kids who watch our sport on TV are seeing it and are going to end up copying it, and then you've got a big problem when it starts going down into grassroots."