Roosters coach Trent Robinson has launched a stunning attack on referee Gerard Sutton following his side's loss to the Panthers on Friday night.
The Roosters were on the wrong end of an 8-3 penalty count but managed to keep pace with the reigning premiers on the back of their strong defence.
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After holding an 18-14 lead in the second half, the Roosters eventually succumbed and went down 26-18.
Robinson was left fuming after the game and lamented a number of "big decisions" from referee Sutton that he believed cost his side.
Robinson questioned Sutton's decision to sin-bin Angus Crichton after the play had moved past his professional foul and was also critical of a dangerous tackle penalty blown against Sam Verrills that put Penrith in position to score.
"(The penalty against Verrills) was just a horrible decision," Robinson said.
"We shouldn't have let a try in on the end of it but there were so many poor decisions tonight.
"The sin-binning...we're not playing rugby union. You either stop the game and send him to the bin or you don't.
"They're big decisions that you can't get wrong."
Robinson appeared to suggest Sutton chose not to award penalties to the Roosters that he would have paid the Panthers.
"It wasn't a good enough performance from him," he said.
"It wasn't going to happen in Roosters' colours. That's not bias, that's a fact, that you're not going to get those opportunities.
"Obviously there were issues there with our team and not the other team."
The NRL told AAP on Saturday that Robinson's comments would be reviewed next week, but there was no time frame on finalising its investigation.
Roosters captain James Tedesco consulted with the referee throughout the night but said there "wasn't much explanation" for the skewed penalty count.
Tedesco was left visibly frustrated by a number of calls, including one that Sutton said he couldn't challenge because the 10-second limit had expired.
"It was frustrating. It felt like we were defending our line so well and then we would just get a penalty against us," he said.
When asked whether he agreed with Robinson's complaints, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was tight-lipped.
"I didn't see it like that," he said.
Roosters fans were also less than impressed with Sutton's performance.
I don’t how Sutton ruled that a penalty, that was ridiculous and the scored straight off the back off that! #NRLPanthersRoosters
— Just Merce (@josh_merce) July 1, 2022
What a joke of a night, our best performance of the season ruined by a ref who clearly has an issue with the @sydneyroosters Mr Politis please pay for a fine from Robbo who should absolutely unload on Sutton #NRLPanthersRoosters
— Clear the ruck (@Cleartheruck) July 1, 2022
— Olly Rooster (@OswaldRooster) July 1, 2022
I’m a bunnies fan so I have no love for the Rooster but seriously In the eyes of Sutton the Panther could do no wrong and the Rooster nothing right. Critical mistakes by Sutton cost the Roosters but Monday we will hear the same dribble from Anersley. #NRLPanthersRoosters
— silentmajority (@Ponchadale) July 1, 2022
Happy with the roosters today, annoyed at those last two tries conceded, and Sutton for assisting 3 tries. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the game was rigged #NRLPanthersRoosters
— turkeyass (@turkeyass3) July 1, 2022
Roosters expect to have Luke Keary back
Victor Radley left the field for a head injury assessment late in his first game back from an ankle injury, but Robinson said his lock forward would not face more time on the sidelines.
"He didn't even know why (he was taken off)," Robinson said. "He's fine."
The Roosters have the bye in round 17 but Robinson said playmaker Luke Keary would make his return from a head knock the following week.
"That's the plan, that's what he's working towards," Robinson said.
"He's back on some of his progressions to get towards that."
Keary suffered five concussions between 2018 and 2019 so the Roosters are managing his return with extra care.
The versatile Joey Manu started in the halves in the absence of Keary and had a hand in the Roosters' first try and that which gave his side the lead early in the second half.
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