Former refs boss slams NRL 'smother job' amid Wests Tigers farce

Pictured here, the aftermath to the Wests Tigers' controversial loss to the Cowboys.
A former referees' boss says the Wests Tigers were 'dudded' in what he describes as an NRL 'smother job'. Pic: Getty

The NRL has been accused of "making up the rules as they go" in the wake of the Wests Tigers' controversial loss to the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Tigers remain furious over the 27-26 loss in which the Cowboys were granted the right to challenge a play in the final second before being wrongly granted a penalty.

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The fallout continued on Tuesday with the game's No.1 referee Ashley Klein axed from both on-field and video roles after sitting in the bunker for the contentious match.

The ARL Commission is still awaiting a full report on the match, including the interpretation and application of key rules in the final seconds of the game.

The Tigers are waiting on the report before deciding their next step, having already asked the NRL for a proper explanation and transcripts of conversations between the referee and bunker.

The NRL's head of football Graham Annesley admitted the bunker got the escort call wrong, but said he had no problem with the Cowboys being able to use their captain's challenge after the siren.

Annesley explained that the referee had only blown the 'short whistle' to signal a stoppage in play, rather than the longer whistle to officially end the match.

However, former referees' boss Michael Stone insists the Tigers were "dudded", and described the fiasco as a "smother job" by the NRL.

"I can't believe what I saw on Sunday and how the NRL then tried to cover its tracks," Stone said.

"It's a smother job, plain and simple - they are making up the rules as they go."

The former grand final and State of Origin whistleblower questioned the NRL's handling of the incident and described its explanation about the events leading to the captain's challenge as "pure fantasy".

"For the NRL to say the game wasn't over and the Cowboys could launch a captain's challenge is pure fantasy. And they do admit they got the challenge wrong, it should not have been a penalty - it's a complete farce - sadly we have learnt little in over 30 years.

"I really couldn't believe what I was watching. I felt for the Tigers - they were dudded."

Seen here, a Wests Tigers player looks shattered after the last-second defeat to the Cowboys.
Wests Tigers players and fans were shattered after the last-second defeat to the Cowboys. Pic: AAP/Fox Sports

Peter V'landys doubts NRL can overturn result

ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has left the door open for the NRL to overturn the Tigers' controversial defeat, but stressed that it's an unlikely possibility.

"What stays on the ground, stays on the ground. People respect that," V'landys said.

"I would be very doubtful it will be overturned. But, all options are open.

"That's one thing about this commission, we are very flexible. And we will always listen and give people due process and natural justice.

"It's not my decision, it will be a commission decision and I will be very surprised if it is overturned because in my opinion what happens on the ground stays on the ground."

The Tigers' frustrations mainly centre around whether the review should have been allowed to take place given no escort was called on the field, arguing that the match at that point should have been declared over.

If they are to pursue a legal challenge for the points it is likely to begin with a request for a meeting between Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis and V'landys.

"I have spoken to the chairman of the Tigers, I understand his position," V'landys said.

"He is showing leadership for his fans and members and I respect that."

"We will sit down, I have asked for a report on the game and the interpretation of the rule."

with AAP

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