Gerard Sutton gets grand final nod despite 'unacceptable' blunder

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Gerard Sutton (pictured) left during a game and (pictured right) Nathan Cleary going for goal.
Gerard Sutton (pictured) has been chosen for the NRL grand final, despite cpming under the spotlight for an error in the semi-final match (pictured right). (Images: Getty Images/Channel Nine)

NRL referee Gerard Sutton will referee the grand final, despite coming under the spotlight for a controversial moment in Penrith's win over Storm on the weekend.

The game's highest honour for an official was confirmed on Tuesday with experienced referee Sutton handed the whistle for his fifth-straight NRL grand final, and the seventh of his career.

SCANDAL: Melbourne Storm players in 'white substance' video

NEW LOVE: Woman behind Trbojevic's record Dally M triumph

However, some might consider Sutton fortunate to have nabbed the honour after NRL's head of football Graham Annesley conceded the blunder in the semi-final between Penrith and the Storm was 'unacceptable'.

Fans were left seething over an incident involving a Nathan Cleary kick at goal in the semi-final.

Cleary lined-up for goal from about 10 metres in from the touchline, despite Brian To'o putting the ball down right in the corner.

Inexplicably, the on-field and bunker officials all failed to spot the indiscretion ahead of the conversion.

Fortunately, the kick had no bearing on the game since he missed the conversion.

Knowing the pressure the referees have been under, Annesley hoped for a drama-free grand final for the referees.

"We always know there's going to be some focus on the match officials and we're out there to do the best we possibly can, and we'll be doing everything we possibly can to ensure that it's about the players," he said on Tuesday.

"At the end of the day we want them to determine the result, and if we go unnoticed that would be great for us."

Gerard Sutton (pictured) walks onto the field to referee an NRL match.
Gerard Sutton (pictured) has a wealth of experience in big NRL matches. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The spotlight has been on officials during the second half of the season with head of football Annesley admitting to several on-field errors in the weeks leading up to Sunday's decider.

"There's always pressure with every game in the NRL but it's magnified with games like State of Origin or grand finals but that's part of the privilege of being a part of it," Sutton said.

The sold-out clash is scheduled to be held at Suncorp Stadium, however, the NRL is closely monitoring a Covid-19 outbreak in south-east Queensland.

NRL grand final in doubt after Covid-19 scare

Due to the Covid-19 scare, a leading epidemiologist has called on the NRL to cancel or postpone Sunday night's grand final.

The Sunshine State is grappling with two new clusters of Covid-19 in the community, and University of New South Wales epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws says the outbreak would be difficult to contain unless there was a short and sharp lockdown.

A man in his 30s, who is an aviation industry worker, first tested positive for the virus and sparked a public health alert for multiple sites in Brisbane.

Queensland recorded four new unlinked cases of Covid-19 in Brisbane on Tuesday, raising concerns about this weekend's NRL grand final and a possible lockdown.

Professor McLaws said there are fears the grand final, due to be held at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday with a capacity crowd, would be a 'super-spreader' event.

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

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