The NRL has stood down the bunker officials central to what Trent Robinson described as the "incompetent" and "ridiculous" handing of an incident that that saw Roosters five-eighth Drew Hutchison hospitalised in a 31-18 loss to the Eels on Friday night.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley said early on Saturday morning that the performance of the NRL video bunker, led by senior official Steve Chiddy, "did not meet our expectations".
Chiddy was scheduled to act as lead review official in the bunker for Saturday's Cowboys-Broncos clash, but will now be replaced by Chris Butler.
"Referees coach Jared Maxwell and I spoke at length immediately following the game last night," Annesley said.
"While we cannot comment about specific incidents which may be subject to the match review process, more generally, Jared and I were extremely unhappy about a number of decisions which occurred throughout the game. As a result, the bunker officials involved, who were due to officiate again tonight, have been replaced.
"They will not officiate again in Round Nine.
Furious Robinson labels Hutchison incident 'incompetent'
"We expect a high standard of performance from all of our match officials, and they are accountable for their performances just like everyone else in the game. The performance last night did not meet our expectations."
Hutchison was taken from Bankwest Stadium in an ambulance with fears he had fractured ribs and a potentially punctured lung, joining eight premiership-winners and the best part of $4 million in talent sidelined when Victor Radley failed an early HIA.
In a brutal 60 seconds before half-time, Hutchison was floored when Brown slid into him with his knees as the Tricolours No.6 looked to have scored.
Match: Eels v Roosters
Round 9 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
In that same play, Marata Niukore landed a hit on James Tedesco, as well as another shot to the head of Sam Walker moments earlier, that may result in scrutiny from the match review committee.
Hutchison's four-pointer was pulled back due to a knock-on in the lead-up by Josh Morris, and a penalty was awarded against Niukore by referee Matt Cecchin after he collected Tedesco in the head in the middle of the left-side raid.
Both Brown and Niukore were placed on report eventually, but Robinson said he was only informed of the citings – and the free interchange that comes when a player is forced off due to foul play – moments before the second half began.
"There was no action whatsoever on the field," Robinson said.
"We couldn't even replace Drew with a free interchange because it wasn't even on report at that stage. They looked at it 10 times and they couldn't find anything.
"And then, they had all of half-time, but we ran onto the field and they told us it was on report.
"They could have told us 10 minutes into the break so I could have made a change in the dressing room, but they told us as we were running out onto the field so I had to make a split-second decision.
"It's ridiculous. It's incompetent. To not see that … a guy goes to hospital. That wasn't good enough tonight."
Asked if he would take the officials' handling of the matter further Robinson said: "They don't need me to ask the question – they should be looking at it themselves. How does it take 20 minutes to put someone on report?
"How many looks do they need to do it? They need to ask questions of themselves. It's poor."
Brown try secures competition points for the Eels
Robinson refused to blame the incident for his side's defeat after they still somehow pushed Parramatta all the way, despite making an incredible 152 more tackles than their opponents.
The post-script to this Bankwest Stadium bash-up is now where the Roosters find 21 fit players next week with Siosiua Taukeiaho also placed on report for a lifting tackle.
For all their worries, they refused to wilt in front of 25,118 fans.
So much so that a Matt Ikuvalu hat-trick, and yet another superb performance from Walker, had the Tricolours still sniffing what would have been a famous win.
Cartwright gets a try after a kick contest
"We're enjoying our footy, it's not difficult," Robinson said simply of a crippling injury toll and week that involved an intense COVID-19 focus on the club.
"We enjoy when Tuku [late bench call-up Tuku Hau Tapuha] gets to debut. We're enjoying hanging out together and playing footy. It's not what we wanted but it's the situation. So yeah... rock on."
Two tries in the space of three minutes to Bryce Cartwright, the first coming just 17 seconds after he was shot into the fray from the Eels bench, eventually proved the difference.
The rapid-fire brace gave Parramatta a lead they never surrendered, even with the Roosters pushing them to the very last moment.
Cartwright's continued purple patch as a $115,000 signing is fast making him worth every penny for a Parramatta outfit that now sits 8-1 to start the season.
A powerhouse platform laid by Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, complimented by the dangerous right-edge work of Ryan Matterson, set this win up for the Eels, their first over the Roosters since 2016.
A whopping 64 per cent of possession didn't hurt either, which saw the Eels complete 41 sets to the Roosters 22.
"It was tough for both teams. We had to fight and scrap for everything we got," Eels coach Brad Arthur said, noting it was the closest his side has come to an 80-minute performance this season.
Tedesco to Ikuvalu for the opener
"We had three tries disallowed against us and I didn't see any frustration creep into them," Arthur said.
"I probably got more frustrated in the box than they did on the field. That's what I saw anyway."
The Tricolours once more will be scrambling to fill out their teamsheet, though the return from suspension of Sitili Tupouniua and Lachie Lam also waiting in the wings will likely keep teen star Joseph Suaalii on ice.
The youngster just about wore his own track up and down the Bankwest sideline, rising every few minutes to warm up as Roosters players dropped like flies.
In the end, none of the criteria required for the 18th man to be activated was met and Suaalii's debut was put on hold.
Throughout though the Roosters kept fighting, with Ikuvalu – who also appeared to have a dislocated finger popped back in during the first half – bagging an early double that was equal parts fantastic and fortuitous.
Walker with what is becoming his trademark ball to Ikuvalu
His first putdown as Brett Morris's right-wing replacement had all the hallmarks of the injured legend's efforts, Ikuvalu defying logic, physics and gravity as he touched down with less than an inch to spare.
On the other side of a brutal Blake Ferguson retort, Ikuvalu was on hand to finish a long-range try that made for a surprise 10-6 Roosters lead.
But with Parramatta's possession and the Tricolours injuries mounting, Cartwright's double gave the Eels breathing room they enjoyed for the best part of half an hour.
At 24-12, and having had just eight tackles in Parramatta's 20-metre zone, Walker piloted a pin-point ball onto Ikuvalu's chest to keep the Roosters in it.
With Reed Mahoney also concussed out of the contest, the Eels attack spluttered and stuttered as the game wore on.
Mitchell Moses eventually stepped up to ice a late field goal, followed by a sweet stepping Brown try that blew the scoreline well beyond all the pluck and guts the Roosters showed.