NRL refs stood down over sin-bin gaffe - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL refs stood down over sin-bin gaffe

20/04/2010 06:49:26 PM Comments (0)

Referees boss Robert Finch has given the use of the sin bin a ringing endorsement despite the dumping of two NRL whistleblowers over its mis-management.

Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton were both stood down over their stunning gaffe at the weekend which saw Parramatta skipper Nathan Cayless incorrectly sin-binned for a stripping foul teammate Daniel Mortimer committed.

The incident occurred during a frantic 10-minute period in the second half of Sunday's Eels-South Sydney clash in which both sides were reduced to 12 men with Bunnies centre Beau Champion also binned for a high shot.

While both binnings were seen as over the top in the context of the match, Finch said he would continue to instruct his referees to make use of the punishment to deter repeat offenders.

"Referees will continue to crack down on teams that continually breach the rules, but it is clearly unacceptable for the wrong player to be sent to the sin bin," Finch said.

"Referees are accountable for their performances and between the two of them this error should not have occurred.

"It is now up to both Ben and Gerard to work their way back into the top grade, which I am sure they will do."

The incident at the weekend was the latest in a long line of glaring errors by the men in the middle over the opening six rounds, with several frustrated NRL coaches left on the brink of $10,000 fines after voicing their frustrations.

The NRL moved to ease the pressure on the referees on Tuesday when they took the extraordinary step of scrapping the controversial `ten metre' advantage rule brought in over the off-season.

Normally reluctant to tamper with rules once the season was underway, the NRL recognised that its search for consistency had only resulted in frustration for officials and spectators.

Under the rule brought in at the start of the season, teams had to gain ten metres in territory before they were deemed to have taken advantage following an opposition error.

"The 10-metre ruling was designed to get more consistency from all referees, which is what every club, player and fan wants," Finch said.

"But it has become apparent that the advantage rule interpretation should be left to the discretion of the referees and that is what will occur from this week."

Meanwhile in judiciary news, all three players charged from the weekend round of matches accepted the early guilty plea, freeing them to play this weekend.

Canberra prop David Shillington and the Warriors' Ukuma Ta'ai will both take part in their respective games on Sunday, but Brisbane rookie Matt Gillett - who pleaded guilty to leading with his feet in a bid to prevent a Tim Smith try last weekend - will miss a month of football with a knee injury.

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