Warriors ref 'demotion' has Luke steaming

Daniel Gilhooly

Furious hooker Issac Luke is staggered the NRL regards the appointment of referee Gerard Sutton for this week's Warriors match as a "demotion".

Luke said he was insulted by the term used when the NRL announced its referee appointments for round 20.

Sutton will control Sunday's match between the Gold Coast and the Warriors in Robina, a week after his performance in the Canberra-Cronulla match was widely criticised.

An NRL tweet said: "Two of the match officials involved in last Friday night's #NRLSharksRaiders match have been dropped and another two demoted".

A story on the NRL's website said Sutton had been assigned to a "lower-profile" match.

Luke responded with a tweet which was hastily deleted.

"What an insult. @NRL uppercut yourself. That's dispresectful (sic) to both teams. Lessssssgoooo Boys," Luke wrote.

Penrith Panthers boss Phil Gould voiced a similar sentiment on Twitter, saying the description of a demotion was demeaning to both the eighth-placed Warriors and the 12th-placed Titans.

"It highlights naivety, insensitivity, inexperience. All the things that have referees in the situation they currently find themselves," Gould wrote.