Manly hit with $25,000 fine by NRL over 'inexcusable' act

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Pictured left to right, Manly coach Des Hasler and NRL referee Ben Cummins.
Des Hasler's comments about referee Ben Cummins have been condemned by league bosses. Pic: Getty

Rugby league bosses have condemned Manly coach Des Hasler after the Sea Eagles were fined $25,000 by the NRL, for comments about Ben Cummins' officiating in the 22-20 loss to Parramatta in round 11.

Hasler claimed the Eels were given a leg-up by Cummins and said the referee needed to review his own performance after the Sea Eagles were on the wrong end of a 9-2 penalty count.

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He said in his post-match press conference that the Eels were “legged back into the game” by the referee before doubling down in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald the following day.

Manly prop Josh Aloiai also criticised Cummins' performance and intimated the referee had unfairly penalised Hasler's side.

“The ref done (sic) us no favours... I think he done (sic) a bad job," Aloiai told reporters during the week.

In handing down its breach notice on Friday, the NRL said in a statement that Manly had “questioned the competence and integrity of NRL match officials."

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo expressed his disappointment with the Sea Eagles' comments and said Hasler should be setting a better example as one of the game's most experienced coaches and a leader in the sport.

“The comments by a coach of Des’s standing were disappointing,” Abdo said via the statement.

“Particularly disappointing was the sustained criticism of match officials over the course of the week.

“We look to those in leadership positions in the game to set an example.

“We understand that passions run high, but that is simply no excuse to make comments which question the integrity and competence of our officials.

“Public criticism of this nature makes it harder to recruit and retain match officials at all levels of the game.

“To see not only a coach, but a player, criticise officials to this extent is not the level of professionalism we expect in rugby league.”

Seen here, Manly coach Des Hasler speaks to reporters during an NRL press conference.
Manly coach Des Hasler is seen here speaking to reporters during an NRL press conference. Pic: Getty

Peter V’Landys issues warning to Des Hasler

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’Landys also took aim at Hasler during a radio interview on Friday morning.

“Des Hasler is a great bloke and a fantastic human being, but he was out of order last week in criticising the referee’s integrity,” V’landys told 2GB.

“He should not do that. That referee (Cummins) has a family. He’s got self-esteem, he’s got his mental wellbeing, you don’t just go and attack someone’s integrity like that.

“I know it’s a passionate game and it’s a tribal game and we all have banter about the referees, but this is what causes referees at junior games to be abused by parents.

“Because they see someone of the standing of Des Hasler having a crack at a referee, when you shouldn’t be – you just cop it.”

Manly - who lost their third straight game in a 28-8 drubbing against Melbourne Storm on Thursday night - have until next Friday to respond to the breach notice.

with AAP

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