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The National Rugby League has tonight reminded referees of the responsibility they face in dealing with dissent on the field.

The decision of the NRL Judiciary to find Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston not guilty of a Detrimental Conduct charge for his comments during last Saturday’s loss to Manly underlines the role of the referee in dealing with such matters.

“This is a matter the NRL has been unable to comment on until such time as the Judiciary had time to consider it,” NRL Chief Operating Officer, Mr Graham Annesley, said tonight.

“The charge brought against Johnathan tonight specifically referred to ‘the use of excessive obscene language detrimental to the interest welfare and or image of the game’.

“There is nothing from tonight’s decision that would suggest it is acceptable to swear at or be abusive to a referee no matter how much one may disagree with a decision.

 “What does seem clear from tonight’s decision is the primary responsibility for enforcing issues related to dissent rests with the referees.

“That is how these issues have been dealt with traditionally and how we would expect that most would be dealt with in the future.”