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Errant touch judge admits he stopped watching games long ago because of bad refereeing

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart isn't happy. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Expert
21st July, 2018
11

The sideline official at the centre of Friday’s controversy in Cronulla has admitted he wasn’t concentrating before the botched try, mainly because he no longer watches games due to the poor standard of refereeing.

Speaking from witness protection, he blamed the penalty crackdown for becoming another disillusioned fan who vowed weekly to never watch rugby league again until the refereeing was fixed, despite continuing to watch rugby league every weekend.

The admission comes after the NRL reprimanded the official following his role in Cronulla’s 28-24 defeat of the Raiders at Shark Park, a loss which ended Canberra’s season for the third time this year.

For those not witnesses to the timeless moment in question, it involved the home side being awarded a game-clinching try to Sione Katoa by The Bunker, despite an unprecedented strain of cacophonous refereeing snafu in the lead-up.

This involved the touch judge incorrectly raising his flag as the Sharks moved the ball wide, triggering a stunning chain of events that irredeemably changed mankind as we know it.

Believing play had been stopped, Katoa strolled through a static defensive line as Canberra players stood idle, much like Blake Austin usually does but with good reason.

Pundits have raged for days in the aftermath, with many conservatively labelling the moment the most egregious decision by officialdom since Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement.

The tragic result left a fuming Canberra side marooned three wins out of the eight and needing results to go their way to make finals, the same position they’ve been in since January 1997.

The NRL immediately reprimanded the sideline official in question after the game and is tipped to be stood down for breaching touch judge protocol by intervening in a match.

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The league used the opportunity to reiterate their position on touch judges, confirming their only two roles are as line call arbiters, and patsies for organisational shortcomings.

But the governing body were at pains to stress the referees weren’t in crisis despite the mortifying mistake, believing all officials can improve by following Gavin Badger’s lead and growing a beard, or by simply marrying a Sutton.

Gerard Sutton

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

However, the concession from top office was cold comfort for a fuming Ricky Stuart, who declared that due to ongoing referee errors he will not attend Origin next year.

The contrite touchie has since admitted to the crime of stupidly using his flag, conceding his error in focus could be traced back to abandoning rugby league after his calls were ignored for heads to roll, such as his own.

He conceded while not running the line, he spent his weekends lashing his own performances on Twitter with poorly-spelt posts tagging various tabloid journalists in the hope of approval.

The official also claimed had he not been an accredited rugby league touch judge, he would’ve bought an A-League membership long ago because “heaps of people I know” are transferring to football because they have no problems with their refereeing.

He also confirmed he’d approached the referees boss to concede he no longer watched rugby league and was immediately promoted.

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Todd Greenberg was approached for comment but was unavailable while sizing up another bus.