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Gallop backs referees

19/05/2003 08:16:08 PM Comments (0)

NRL boss David Gallop threw his support behind referees coach Robert Finch and claimed the standard of officiating was better than ever despite another day of axings and unrest.

In an extraordinary afternoon even by recent standards:

- Finch admitted referee Steve Lyons had got it wrong in awarding a penalty to Manly in extra time of yesterday's historic match at Brookvale Oval, which resulted in Ben Walker kicking the winning `golden points';

- Parramatta coach Brian Smith said he "could live" with Lyon's mistake, which cost his out-of-sorts side a chance of winning their third game this season;

- Touch judge Steve Nash was dropped following his decision to report Lance Thompson for obstruction on Bulldogs five-eighth Johnathan Thurston on Saturday night, a decision which Finch also admitted was wrong;

- St George Illawarra was fined $10,000 for coach Nathan Brown's criticism of Nash at the post-match media conference; and.

- Finch gave his crew a pep talk and told them to lift their intensity.

Nash is the third official to be sacked in the past three weeks following the axing of video referees Chris Ward and Mick Stone - and it's more than likely he would have been joined by Lyons.

However, Finch is likely to be spared that task, with the referee in doubt for this weekend's round due to a calf injury.

Despite another `Mad Monday' at NRL headquarters, both Gallop and Finch tonight denied there was a crisis in the officiating ranks.

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