Graham Annesley has delivered a cutting warning in the wake of the farcical scenes in the Eels’ clash with the Roosters.
The NRL might not be done with the punishments.
That’s the message from NRL head of football Graham Annesley in the wake of the farcical decision to not sin-bin – or even place on report – Parramatta Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown for an ugly incident in Friday night’s clash with the Sydney Roosters.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was furious in his post-match press conference that Brown wasn’t disciplined during the match for leading with his knees as he slid and crashed into Roosters playmaker Drew Hutchison just before half-time. Hutchison was left with a broken rib and a punctured lung and was rushed to hospital.
Bunker official Steve Chiddy is the only person the NRL has disciplined so far over the embarrassing handling of the situation.
But Annesley says that’s only because Chiddy had been scheduled to officiate on Saturday night’s match between the North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos.
The footy boss said tough calls could be set to follow on referee Matt Cecchin, as well as tough judges David Munro and Todd Smith.
“Anything is possible at this point. The overall match hasn’t been reviewed by the officiating department yet. They’ve got to do a review of the complete match because there wasn’t only those incidents,” Annesley told 2GB’s The Continuous Call Team.
“There were any number of other controversial incidents. I’m not suggesting the referees got those wrong, but they need to be looked at in the fullness of time.
“Those appointments will be made in the next week, by Tuesday, so we’ll see where that lands.
“But I just thought we had to act on the Bunker situation given that he (Chiddy) had a further appointment today.”
Fascinatingly, the NRL is yet to take action on touch judge Munro despite the fact he’s scheduled to officiate on tomorrow’s game between the St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs. Neither referee Cecchin or touch judge Smith had been scheduled to officiate on another game in round nine.
When Darryl Brohman of The Continuous Call Team asked Annesley if the touch judges held some responsibility in situations like the one involving Brown and Hutchison, he suggested that no official was untouchable.
“All the officials have the responsibility to make sure these things aren’t missed,” Annesley said.
“Whether it’s the referees, the touch judges or the people in the Bunker, it’s our role as officials to make sure these incidents are picked up and that we provide the safest-possible environment for players to play the game.”
The match review committee slapped Brown with a grade-two dangerous-contact charge. The New Zealand-born Eel will receive a three-game suspension if he takes the early guilty plea but a four-match ban if he challenges the ruling at the judiciary and is unsuccessful.
In the same play that Brown collided with Hutchison, another disturbing incident occurred moments earlier when Parramatta centre Marata Niukore hit Roosters fullback James Tedesco high with a shoulder charge.
The match review committee hit Niukore with a grade-two careless, high tackle. The 24-year-old will cop a two-game ban if he takes the early guilty plea but will miss three matches if he challenges the decision at the tribunal and fails.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!