Frustrated Roosters coach Trent Robinson has blasted the officials following his side's 20-18 Anzac Day loss to the Dragons, saying they cost his side a chance at a win and in particular for what he described as disrespectful treatment of his players.
Robinson's concerns mainly centred around a penalty against Kane Evans for a late tackle on Mitch Rein which led to a Dragons penalty goal early in the second half – with the two points proving crucial in the final wash-up – as well as a high tackle penalty against Dylan Napa after Dragons debutant Taane Milne lost the ball in a heavy shot in the dying stages with the Roosters pressing for a win.
The Roosters mentor contended neither challenge warranted a penalty, adding he believed Milne lost the ball as a result of an accidental head clash with Boyd Cordner and that Napa's arm came up off Milne's body.
Robinson was particularly unhappy with intervention from the bunker to rule a penalty in a couple of instances after Dragons players stayed down.
"The bunker's decided to be the on-field ref today. They jumped in at every occasion. They're not the match review committee," Robinson said.
"There's a head clash, Boyd Cordner had to get taken from the field as did Taane Milne on the Napa tackle. Dylan bounced up off his body, there won't be a charge around it and the bunker decides they're going to play the match review committee and call a penalty.
"The ones on [Aidan] Guerra and Kane Evans, it's just a soft – we're on Anzac Day. We want to play a tough game and they were just soft calls coming from the bunker. They weren't good enough."
The penalty against Napa meant the Roosters were not able to press the Dragons line from attacking range late in the game and Robinson said it denied his team a chance to win the game, although he conceded the Roosters had only themselves to blame for a horror first half which had them trailing 18-0 at the break.
"Two guys had a head clash. Big play in the game. I don't know if we would have won it, St George might have held on, they might have defended well and held on but that was a big play," Robinson said.
"It came up off his body, knocked him into Boyd Cordner and they both went off with concussion. You can't play match review committee within a second like that," he said.
Robinson was particularly blunt in respect of lead referee Ben Cummins, who he claimed did not speak to his players with respect.
"Ben's been horrible, disrespectful to our players for many years and it's continued. We've had good high percentage win rate up until this year [but under] Ben Cummins we've won two games," Robinson said.
"He speaks poorly to our players, won't look them in the eye… It's just poor. The way that he spoke to [captain] Jake [Friend] during the game was unacceptable."
Friend said he had asked Cummins for explanations on certain calls that were not forthcoming.
"As a captain I've got the utmost respect for the referees and the opposition," Friend said.
"I know every call's not going to be the right one but I should at least have the ability to talk to Ben about that but he just waves me off and refuses to talk to me or let me know why he came up with that decision.
"Then they slow it down after the decision and it goes to the bunker then they make a decision on a slowed down tackle or a slowed down kick pressure that in slow motion is always going to look late but in the run of the game there's nothing wrong with it. It's frustrating as a captain."
Robinson suggested he expected to be contacted by the NRL over his post-match press conference.
When asked if he'd be raising his concerns with referees boss Tony Archer, Robinson replied: "I'd say [NRL CEO] Todd [Greenberg] might be ringing me, I'd say that might be a start.
"You have to create change. It's not something we like in our game. We're not saying we should have won today. We haven't done this all year. We've lost lots of games this year, we're not happy about it but we're not saying we should have won today. I'm saying we should have had a chance to win today."