Barrett earns NRL ire for referee comments

·2-min read

Canterbury coach Trent Barrett could face a fine from the NRL after implying referees have a preconceived idea to penalise Jack Hetherington.

Hetherington was penalised twice in the opening minutes of Saturday's loss to Penrith, on his return from a five-week ban and his sixth suspension in four years.

Barrett claimed after the match he was pulled up "because his name is Jack Hetherington", in remarks that have caught the attention of the NRL.

Manly coach Des Hasler is however less likely to be sanctioned for saying Newcastle were "ably assisted" in Sunday's win over the Sea Eagles.

While Hasler's comments walk the tightrope on questioning the referees' integrity, it was part of a wider criticism of inconsistencies in the league's crackdown.

The veteran coach was furious that Tyson Frizell was not penalised for a high shot on Martin Taupau, only for Taupau to be sin-binned himself moments later.

Hasler called the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley after the match, with Annesley admitting he agreed with some of the coach's points.

"We had a very amicable conversation as we always do," Annesley said.

"He made some points, some of which I don't disagree with. I felt he had some cause for complaint in the game."

Annesley on Monday stood by the fact there would be no drop in the crackdown for State of Origin, with Andrew Johns on Sunday worrying what it would do to the game

The head of football spent a Monday briefing showing media what high shots should fall into what categories, between penalties only, sin-bins and send-offs depending on force and directness.

But he also admitted it was near-impossible to reach consistency on correctly punishing foul play on field, given the limited time for the referee and bunker to make decisions.

However he insisted his officials had largely got it right since the edict went down before Magic Round, and he believed players were starting to fall into line.

"The lack of consistency is because circumstances are different," Annesley said.

"The only way we could get to what many people would see as absolute consistency is if we had some kind of just definitive single outcome for any contact with the head.

"That it was either (automatically) sent off, (automatically) sin-binned or (automatically) placed on report.

"But that wouldn't take into consideration the varying factors like what type of contact with what part of the body, and what sort of momentum was in the tackle."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting