NRL referees boss backs close calls - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL referees boss backs close calls

Steve Jancetic and David Beniuk 17/09/2011 04:03:53 PM Comments (0)

NRL referees boss Bill Harrigan says Warriors coach Ivan Cleary's protests over the officiating in his side's opening two finals matches will not ensure a new batch of whistleblowers for Saturday night's preliminary final against Melbourne.

Cleary took aim at referees Shayne Hayne and Jared Maxwell after his side was handed a 4-0 penalty count in the first half of Friday night's 22-20 semi-final win over Wests Tigers.

It came after the same two whistleblowers gave Brisbane three unanswered penalties in the Broncos' qualifying final win over the Warriors, prompting Cleary to say on Friday night: "The last two weeks we have had a combined 7-0 penalty count against us in the second half.

"The same two referees too.

"There were definitely some calls there that I think they will be disappointed with when they look back at it."

While he would reserve judgment until Monday's debrief, Harrigan said he was satisfied with the performance of the referees, particularly their rulings on the major plays.

"The controversial things like the changing of the line drop out to the 20 metre tap I'm very comfortable with because we've got precedents that we've been doing for years, and the try I'm very, very comfortable with," Harrigan told AAP, refereeing to Krisnan Inu's match-winning effort which Tigers players and officials believe may have come as a result of a double movement.

Asked whether Cleary's comments would affect which referees did what preliminary finals, Cleary said: "No, I'll sit down with my panel of coaches, the five evaluators, and we all with an evaluation of their performances we sit down and discuss it and work out where they go and who they team up with.

"We don't give any credence to the teams or the coaches or what they've said - we just decide that's the game that he needs to be in and that's where we send them."

Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys refused to be critical of the referees, but admitted he would rather not see big games decided by the blow of a whistle.

"I think everyone in the game understands that the sides are all so evenly matched that nobody, particularly the referees, want their decisions to have such a significant impact on the game," Humphreys told AAP.

"There were at least a couple of Warriors tries that came directly on the back of penalties so, whether we like it or not, it is a feature of the game.

"We all celebrate the closeness of the competition, which is one of our great strengths, but it then just does mean that the refereeing decisions often will have a massive impact on the final results.

"So it's just the way it is.

"I think we have to recognise that and do whatever we can to help support the referees to get as much of it right as we can."

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