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NRL fines Roosters, Robinson over abuse of match officials

The Roosters have been issued a breach notice proposing fines totalling $40,000 after the alleged on-field abuse of match officials and coach Trent Robinson's controversial post-game comments last Friday.

The NRL has proposed a $20,000 fine for comments Robinson made in the wake of his side's heavy loss to South Sydney, which would also trigger a previous suspended $10,000 fines for a similar outburst after the Roosters loss to Parramatta in May.

The club has also been issued a separate $10,000 fine for alleged abuse of the on-field match officials and stand-by referee Matt Cecchin, who was seated on the sideline at Suncorp Stadium.

The NRL's breach notice alleges the "abusive comments" were made by Roosters officials, with NRL head of football Graham Annesley declining to elaborate on the role held by the club official during his weekly football briefing on Monday.

The NRL Integrity Unit is continuing its investigation into a separate incident involving prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who is alleged to have had an altercation with a Channel 9 cameraman on Friday night.

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While Annesley noted the "highly charged environment", with "incidents in the game that probably added to that emotion and there was a lot happening on the sideline," the Roosters have been warned that sideline access to officials will be stripped if there is a repeat offence.

Speaking after the high tackle by Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell that ended former teammate Joey Manu's season and left him with a severe facial fracture, Robinson fumed that the decision to sin bin Mitchell and not send him off was "laughable and an absolute farce".

According to the NRL's breach notice, Robinson "claimed match officials had a bias against the Roosters and exposed individual match officials to personal ridicule in contravention of NRL rules."

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His previous suspended fine for comments from the Eels match was also taken into account in the latest proposed punishment.

The Roosters have five days to respond to the breach notice.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo issued a warning to all clubs that "there is no place for the abuse or harassment of match officials" and no such behaviour would be tolerated.

"Sport can be highly emotional and sometimes people will debate decisions made on the field and we expect all clubs to deal with on-field matters respectfully," he said.

"We can analyse and debate decisions, but such commentary should not be personalised and disrespectful. In our view there was a lack of professionalism shown by the club and its officials across Friday night.

"We’re an elite competition and we should set the standard for how to deal with adversity."

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Abdo said the NRL had acknowledged Mitchell's sin-binning was the incorrect decision, with Bunker official Henry Perenara stood down from his duties for the Eels-Storm clash the following day.

Robinson's comments concerning Perenara's performance in the Rabbitohs-Roosters game were deemed to have been "personalised and disrespectful" according to the NRL's breach notice.

"Perenara, who's supposed to know some footy, sitting up in the box, and then doesn't do anything about it for 30 or 40 or 50 seconds, doesn't do a thing about it," Robinson said.

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"Get out of there [the Bunker]. If you can't do it get out of there, or just get rid of it all completely. If you cannot do the job, get out of there.

"It's shown that the NRL Bunker cannot do their job this year. It's been a farce, it's been an absolute farce.

"I've got this thing about that circus music going on up there in the background, and streamers ... it's like the twilight zone up there when the Roosters are playing. It was laughable, it was that bad. They don't know what they were doing."

We expect all clubs to deal with on-field matters respectfully.

Andrew Abdo

Several players across the game, including Queensland Origin and Titans prop Jarrod Wallace and Roosters five-eighth Drew Hutchison, have expressed confusion in recent days as to what constitutes a send-off.

Speaking on Monday, Anneseley said referees are given direction on what is worthy of rugby league's heaviest on-field punishment, but situations ultimately come down to subjective calls.

"There are some guidelines to at least try and guide the application of judgement for the bunker in particular, but it's almost impossible to describe every possible circumstance that could take place," Annesley said.

"And ultimately, you know you can have the best technology in the world, people still have to look at that technology make an assessment and then advise the referee of the decision to bake in a very short period of time

"In this case we don't believe they made the right call.

"It's impossible to describe every circumstance upon which a player would be cautioned, placed on report, sent to the sin bin or sent from the field of play."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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