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'I stuffed up': Embarrassed Badger cops demotion on chin

Kasey Badger has opened up on the "embarrassing" touchline call that resulted in her being dropped for this week's Magic Round.

The touch judge was left red-faced by a decision to raise her flag when Melbourne flyer Josh Addo-Carr put his foot out while rising to his feet to play the ball in the fourth minute of the Storm's 20-18 loss to Cronulla last Friday night.

Under NRL rules, players are entitled to go out of the field of play when regaining their feet once the tackle is completed.

Badger will not feature as a touch judge in any games across the history-making weekend, in which she described on her weekly podcast "Ref's Round-Up" with husband and senior referee Gavin Badger as a blunder that left her devastated following the game.

"I had a touchline decision which I got horribly, horribly wrong," Badger said.

"It was just instinct, hard to explain if it was lack of focus or hype of focus in that I zeroed in on Josh's foot. My automatic reaction was to put my flag up and by the time I got it to my shoulder I thought what the hell am I doing?

"We know once the flag goes up there is nothing I could do. It wasn't a case of not knowing the law, for referees it's a very basic law.

"You just feel stupid, it's like a player missing a goal kick in front. Just that embarrassment factor. You lose focus for one second and you forget about other things."

It marked a whirlwind few hours for Badger, who was earlier told by NRL referees boss Bernard Sutton she would be offered a full-time role alongside up-and-coming officials Belinda Sharpe and Todd Smith.

Along with Graham Annesley's weekly briefings on Monday and her ability to talk to the rugby league world through the referees' podcast, Badger said referees were in a better head space to acknowledge their mistakes.

"It takes a bit of pressure off because media and the public want to know things," Badger said.

"There are some decisions that get supported and some that don't. It's just our mouthpiece to the rest of the world to say these are the reasons why they were or weren't made.

"I think it's been positive for our department and hopefully shines a light on what we do.

Referees Kasey Badger, Todd Smith and Belinda Sleeman.
Referees Kasey Badger, Todd Smith and Belinda Sleeman. ©NRL Photos

"For an incident like the weekend it's not that talking about it makes me feel better but you can own up to it and hopefully people can see that we are being held accountable.

"We're not hiding from anything, we all feel horrible when we make mistakes. It's a low feeling, to explain that to people and put your hand up staying I stuffed up shows that I'm not the first and won't be the last.

"I've got to cop it this week and hopefully it doesn't happen again. It's all part of the refereeing journey."

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