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Bulldogs fined for referee comments

The NRL will issue the Bulldogs a $10,000 breach notice for comments made by coach Des Hasler following Saturday evening’s match against the Newcastle Knights.

The Bulldogs coach made a point of highlighting the referees’ performances in his post-match media conference before saying:

“One thing I couldn’t understand was toward the back end of the first half …the referees are talking between themselves saying: ‘this game is going to change, this game is going to change, this game is going to change’… and the next time … there’s … you know…we get a run of penalties…there’s four penalties against us.”

The comments were made only two days after all clubs were warned in relation to excessive comment, attacks of the character of officials and generalisations that attack public confidence.

In issuing the breach today the NRL believes that through an inaccurate account of on-field discussion by match officials, Mr Hasler inferred subsequent decisions were made on a pre-determined basis.

The NRL ordered a review of the on-field referee’s audio which produced only one comment from the match official, which was in relation to the need for all officials to remain alert in the match.

Referee Brett Suttor said to the team of officials following a try on the field:

“We just have to remember that Newcastle hasn’t had the ball yet so this could turn around very quickly.”

To which fellow referee Jason Robinson replied: “very true.”

Contrary to the insinuation of the post-match press-conference, the next penalty in the game went to the Bulldogs.

“Coaches have the ability to be critical of decisions,” ARLC General Manager of Football, Mr Nathan McGuirk, said today.

“What we have said is that in doing so they should not question the character or integrity of the officials and that they should not use emotive generalisations.

“In this case it is our view that there was a clear inference drawn by the Bulldogs that the referees had a pre-determined view in the decisions they were to take for the remainder of the half.”

The Bulldogs will have until Tuesday, August 14, to make submissions in relation to the Breach Notice.  

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