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The National Rugby League has today issued the Newcastle Knights with a $10,000 breach notice over comments made by coach Rick Stone.

The breach notice follows post-match comments made by Stone questioning the impartiality of the referees, specifically:  “The Knights weren’t going to win today mate as far as the refs were concerned and it was pretty consistent throughout.”

The NRL has clear guidelines in relation to coaches commenting on referees that allow every opportunity to question and even criticise individual decisions or a general refereeing performance.

These guidelines expressly forbid coaches, officials, or players questioning the integrity of a referee or accusing them of bias.

“The rules here are pretty straightforward and all clubs are aware of them,” NRL Director of Football Operations, Mr Nathan McGuirk, said today.

“Coaches have the right to fairly criticise performances and express their views but to question a match official’s integrity is not acceptable.”

The Knights will have five business days from the receipt of the breach noticed in which to respond.