Representatives for the NRL’s referees have swung back against claims they are cheating the NZ Warriors.
During the most recent Warrior’s game vs Penrith, the CEO of One NZ Jason Parris said in (now deleted) tweets that NRL refs are “biased” against the NZ team, labelling it “cheating of the highest order”. The big dog of the team's main sponsor later went back on his claims, saying that he does not think the refs are cheating, just “that there is unconscious bias against the Warriors”.
Yesterday, a Warriors fan started a fundraiser with the money to go towards any fines coach Andrew Webster would have to pay for calling out the refs.
Now, both the NRL referees’ boss and the head of the NRL referees’ union have called BS on Kiwis' claims of crookedness.
Matt Cecchin, boss of the Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO), was vigorous in sticking up for the integrity of his coworkers and even sought legal advice regarding Parris’ words.
“It’s not called for and the comments are appalling,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It does nothing to help and improve officials within our game, or any officials really.”
“That’s why we’ll do whatever we can to ensure comments like this are stamped out of our game, and stamped out of any game for any officials.”
“Any sort of mention of the word bias, be it conscious or unconscious, is just unacceptable. It hurts our game at every level.”
“We feel strong enough to seek legal opinion and based on the information we’ll pursue whatever means necessary to ensure that it’s seen as a deterrent for anyone who thinks about making any such comments around bias,” he finished.
Graham Annesley, boss of NRL referees, had a calmer response and is willing to go over the calls with the Warriors, but still admitted he is angry at the accusations.
“I'll be measured as much as I can be, I'm a bit hot under the collar with this stuff,” he said at his weekly briefing yesterday. “We have to look at the facts.”
“I don't have a problem with anyone forming their own opinion of whether these [decisions] are right or wrong. At the end of the day, it's in the eye of the beholder.”
“But all it is a difference of opinion. I can go through each of these incidents and I can mount a case to say in each case, the referee was justified or the bunker was justified in the decisions they reached.”
He then added that the claims will hurt the success of the league is discussions continue to centre around a reffing conspiracy.
"We want the game to be successful. It's not going to be successful if some of the things that are said in the media get any traction, and bring the game into disrepute. There is no comment that could be worse than the type of comment we've seen over the last 24 hours in relation to the integrity of the game."
The next Warriors game is this Friday at 8 PM. I am not envious of whoever is reffing this game, their every call will be under scrutiny for both sides. #Itsouryear tho.