Phil Gould hits out at referee amid ugly incident with Josh Reynolds

The referee has been accused of letting his emotions get the better of him during the ugly incident.

·3-min read
Phil Gould says referee Grant Atkins let emotions get the better of him during an incident with Bulldogs star Josh Reynolds. Pic: Getty/Nine
Phil Gould says referee Grant Atkins let emotions get the better of him during an incident with Bulldogs star Josh Reynolds. Pic: Getty/Nine

Phil Gould has turned the blowtorch on referee Grant Atkins over an ugly incident involving Josh Reynolds, during the Bulldogs' round nine win over the Dragons in the NRL. Reynolds lashed out at referee Atkins at half-time of his side's 18-16 win on Sunday, claiming it was "bullshit" he had been penalised for illegally applying pressure to Tyrell Sloan's neck during a tackle on the St George Illawarra fullback.

Atkins was clearly not impressed at being sworn at by the Bulldogs player and could be heard saying: " I beg your pardon? Come out here, come out here, come here. Don't say a word." Reynolds apologised for his outburst and the match review committee originally intended to let the incident slide, but at the urging of NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, hit Reynolds with a grade-one contrary conduct charge and a $1000 fine.

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Gould was asked by Nine league reporter Danny Weidler on 100% Footy whether he thought Atkins' initial reaction to Reynolds' comment was "too emotional", with the Bulldogs supremo insisting the referee could have handled it better. "Absolutely yeah, that was an overreaction," Gould said about the referee.

The Nine commentator admitted Reynolds should not have sworn at the whistleblower, but argued that Atkins let his emotions get the better of him. "Well you can't swear to the referee, it's simple," Gould added. "He didn't abuse the referee, he didn't call the referee a name or question his integrity or anything like that.

"What he was referring to was what the referee accused him of, which he didn't do, that's what he said. But we'll counsel Josh on the way he speaks to the referees." The other reaction (from Atkins) was very emotional and as a referee he needs to be helped in that regard as well."

Reynolds said he had not intended to disrespect the referee and was more filthy with himself for conceding a penalty, before his verbal outburst. He also accepted that swearing at the official was not a good example to set for young fans watching the game.

"I am really sorry for all the kids that had to hear that," Reynolds told The Big Sports Breakfast. It's obviously not a great look. I love being a role-model for the young kids.

Seen here, Bulldogs star Josh Reynolds looking on during the round nine NRL match against St George Illawarra.
Bulldogs star Josh Reynolds looks on during the round nine NRL match against St George Illawarra. Pic: Getty

"Costing my team a penalty like that kills me. Hopefully people can understand that I was fairly riled up. It wasn't an actual personal attack on the ref, it wasn't about him at all, it was more about the situation.

"A big call like that, a big piggyback penalty like that when we've got them (the Dragons) in the corner. As a player, I'm allowed to ask the question and have an opinion on that call.

"Do I wish I chose my words better? One hundred per cent. And I'm really sorry to all the kids out there who had to hear that. I am a passionate person, I care about the result, every battle, every single play I'm in, and costing my team a penalty like that kills me."

with AAP

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