NRL match reviewer defends Smith call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL match reviewer defends Smith call

26/09/2010 06:24:57 PM Comments (0)

NRL match review chairman Greg McCallum has defended the crucial refereeing decision not to penalise Jeremy Smith in Saturday night's preliminary final despite slapping the St George Illawarra lock with a kneeing charge.

In a development which will come as little comfort to the Wests Tigers after they bundled out of the title race courtesy of their 13-12 loss to the Dragons, Smith was hit with a grade one dangerous contact charge following a 73rd minute incident which left Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri with suspected broken ribs.

The charge won't stop Smith from playing in Sunday's NRL grand final provided he takes the early guilty plea, the same scenario facing Sydney Roosters five-eighth Todd Carney after he was handed a careless high tackle charge for his hit on Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince.

But the Smith no-penalty ruling by on-field officials Ben Cummins and Shayne Hayne - as well as video referee Steve Clark who had ample opportunity to review the incident as Tuqiri sought treatment - left Tigers officials privately incensed.

The game was tied at 12-all when Smith got Tuqiri late, and while it would have been a tough attempt, was within range for Tigers goalkicker Benji Marshall for what could have been a match-winning lead.

As it was Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward snapped a field goal to give the minor premiers their first lead of the night just a minute later, but McCallum - himself a former top grade referee - refused to be critical of the whistleblowers.

"I think that's really unfair on referees where they're in a position to make decisions quickly," McCallum told AAP on Sunday.

"We spent 40 minutes on that this morning and we looked at it from all angles, we compared it to other incidents where there's been a charge.

"Our view is that we make the decision based on what we see and I think it's unfair to draw a line to say that it should have been dealt with on the field any other way than what it was."

Asked about the tackle after the game, Tigers coach Tim Sheens did his best to hide his frustrations.

"He had to come off - that's all I can say," Sheens said of Tuqiri.

"I'm not going to bring it up - what's the use, what's it going to do, there's no next week for us."

Meanwhile Dragons hooker Dean Young has escaped sanction over an alleged racial comment directed towards Tigers skipper Robbie Farah.

On-field audio failed to pick up comments made during the altercation between the pair, the match review committee left with little option but to clear the Dragons No.9 when the Tigers declined to make an official complaint.

Farah declined two opportunities to make a complaint to on-field referee Ben Cummins, but could be heard later accusing Young of calling him a "f***ing wog."

"The on-field audio provided no evidence to confirm if any comment had been made," the match review committee said in a statement.

"The on-field audio does contain an accusation from Farah and a denial from the St George Illawarra player.

"The Wests Tigers have today declined a request to provide any further information that may assist the match review committee.

"Having assessed all the available information, the match review committee does not believe there is sufficient evidence to warrant a charge."

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