NRL clubs receive fines over referee criticism

NRL chief Todd Greenberg has aimed both barrels at Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and Sea Eagles mentor Trent Barrett after their comments on referees.

The coaches of both teams dumped from the NRL Finals last weekend will be hit with fines as heavy as $20,000 after criticising the officials in week one of the finals series.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks coach Shane Flanagan produced a list of 10 occasions where he believed his side were on the wrong end of a decision during the 15-14 extra time loss to the North Queensland Cowboys, while also labelling the performance of the whistleblowers as disgraceful.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett also took aim at the referees following his sides 22-10 loss to the Penrith Panthers, which came courtesy of a controversial try to centre Tyrone Peachey and a late four-pointer to a resurgent Bryce Cartwright. Evidence which appeared later in the weekend suggested the referees had made the right decision on the Peachey try.

Taking aim at referees

The Sharks will also attract the NRL’s attention having suggested via their website that the dip in finals crowds was caused by the referees’ mistakes across the season. Cronulla have a history of some questionable social media posts in the wake of losses.

Yesterday, Todd Greenberg accused the league of a “culture of blaming match officials for losses,” while saying the “game had to grow up.” Greenberg also confirmed the breach notices that would be issued to both the Sea Eagles and the Sharks.

Both Barrett and Flanagan used their post-match press conferences as a platform to launch scathing attacks on the referees in their games. Flanagan even gave a nod to Barrett, suggesting he knew how Trent felt the night before.

Please explain

Barrett asked referees boss Tony Archer to come to his sides dressing room and explain to his team why their season had been ended by refereeing decisions. Given the weight of evidence which has come out post-game to disprove Barrett’s initial opinion, it is not known if he’s offered an apology to Archer, the match officials in the game, or the league.

Flanagan claimed that; “If that’s the refereeing standard that we’ve got at the moment then we’re in trouble.”

The criticism from both coaches comes at the end of a season full of discussion over the performance of match officials and the review process.

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