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NRL axes bunker official involved in Parramatta’s 31-18 win over Sydney Roosters

The NRL has axed a bunker official involved in last night’s Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels game after several controversial calls in the Eels’ 31-18 win.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley met with Referees coach Jared Maxwell in the aftermath of the match and declared they were “extremely unhappy” about several decisions throughout the clash.

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As a result, the match official in question, Steve Chiddy, has been pulled from his duties for the Broncos – Cowboys game tonight and replaced by Chris Butler.

“Referees Coach Jared Maxwell and I spoke at length immediately following the game last night,” Annesley said in a statement released by the NRL this morning.

“While we cannot comment about specific incidents which may be subject to the match review process, more generally, Jared and I were extremely unhappy about a number of decisions which occurred throughout the game. As a result, the bunker officials involved, who were due to officiate again tonight, have been replaced.

“They will not officiate again in Round Nine. We expect a high standard of performance from all of our match officials, and they are accountable for their performances just like everyone else in the game. The performance last night did not meet our expectations.”

In a game that had several contentious calls, the most blatant appeared to be the incident involving the Roosters’ Drew Hutchison.

In the final minute of the first half, Hutchison copped a nasty shot to the ribs from the Eels’ Dylan Brown, who led with the knees while the five-eighth dived in for a try that was later waved off by the bunker.

The same play also saw star fullback James Tedesco cop a nasty high shot due to a shoulder charge from Eels centre Marata Niukore. The Parramatta back, who escaped sanction for a high shot on Sam Williams moments earlier, was placed on report for the shot on Tedesco, with the Roosters receiving a penalty that resulted in two points as the halftime siren sounded.

The bunker missed Brown’s shot on Hutchison which could have resulted in a sin-bin, while Niukore’s hit on Tedesco could have also seen the Parramatta centre start the second half from the sidelines.

The Roosters should have been allowed to have an 18th man enter the game under the new rules straight away, but the Tricolours were denied because Brown wasn’t cited for the hit immediately.

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The Roosters were only informed of the citing, and the free interchange that comes when a player is forced off due to foul play, moments before the second half began.

Coach Trent Robinson was left fuming after the match, labelling the officiating “incompetent”.

“There was no action on the field, no action whatsoever on the field,” Robinson told reporters at his post-match press conference.

“I don’t know how they’re going to judge that, but we couldn’t even replace Drew with the free interchange because it wasn’t even on report at that stage.

“They looked at it 10 times and they couldn’t even find anything.

“Then they had all of half-time, and we run out on the field and they say it’s on report now. They could have told us 10 minutes in so I could have changed it in the dressing room. But they told us as we were running out on the field.

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“So, I had to make a split-second change as soon as we ran out on the field. It’s ridiculous.

“It’s incompetent. To not see that, the guy goes to hospital and then 20 minutes later you put him on report. It’s ridiculous.”

Maroons legend Darren Lockyer admitted he was left stunned during the broadcast with the bunker missing Brown’s incident, which he declared a sin-binning offence.

“I think Parramatta are lucky, it was a penalty. It will be on report and I think he (Niukore) might miss a couple of weeks,” Lockyer said.

“And, Dylan Brown should have been sin-binned. It should have been 13 on 12.”

Cronulla great Paul Gallen after the match added: “Dylan Brown was not even put on report, I thought that dead-set that knee was deliberate.

“I thought he was going to get put in report and sent to the sin bin immediately.”

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