NRL grand final 2019: Sydney Roosters were robbed in grand final just like Canberra Raiders: refs boss


There were three key admissions from the NRL that show the Roosters also got the rough end of the stick during the NRL’s biggest game of the year.

Sutton admitted to Robinson that Cooper Cronk being sent to the sin bin was harsh – hardly what you want to hear. It was a decision that placed huge pressure on the Roosters and it could have cost them the game.

The NRl says the refs should not have awarded the Raiders six again before Jack Wighton’s try.Credit:Nine

There was an even more significant moment. Sutton conceded the decision to give Canberra six more tackles after a mid-air contest between James Tedesco and Elliot Whitehead was wrong. That decision was made at the start of the set from which Canberra’s Jack Wighton scored his side’s only try – a massive play.

The other concession that Sutton made was also at a controversial time of the game. He said the Roosters should have received a penalty when Luke Keary was taken out by Sia Soliola when he was attempting a charge down – the charge down which resulted in the ball hitting trainer Travis Touma on the head.

Cooper Cronk is sent to the sin bin after tackling Josh Papalii without the ball.

Cooper Cronk is sent to the sin bin after tackling Josh Papalii without the ball.Credit:Getty Images

So, whichever team you support, the NRL would have to concede the referees had a shocker. The V’landys comments reflected what fans feel but his baking of the referees is known to have gone down badly with match officials and even those in the wider league circle are warning he will regret his words as things are unlikely to get much better during his reign.

Chooks ready to talk turkey with Mitchell but is $800K enough?

Roosters management are aiming to bring Latrell Mitchell’s contract matter to a head this week. There is likely to be a high-level meeting to sort through what is becoming a messy saga. If you listen to those close to Mitchell, he is said to be insulted by the offer of $800,000 a year from the Roosters and is seriously considering moving on.

He has won two NRL premierships and played for his state and country. He is now aiming to look after his family, and money is a bigger factor than ever as he is already a dad and has another child on the way.

His first choice if exiting would have been Newcastle – the club nearest to his home town of Taree. Without an offer from the Knights, the Bulldogs may be an option.

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The Roosters have heard talk of his dissatisfaction. Mitchell is said to have his nose out of joint that he didn’t receive the praise that James Tedesco and Luke Keary received after the grand final, and it’s something that coach Trent Robinson will have to deal with when he meets with him this week.

The $800,000 is as far as Roosters are willing to go and they are comfortable with their support of Mitchell over his time at the club. But the Bulldogs are prepared to offer the star centre more than $1million a season. The Bulldogs say they won’t go near $1.4m, as has been suggested. Meanwhile, the situation surrounding Mitchell remains hectic. He has a new manager, Wade Rushton, but those close to him are urging him to use Mario Tartek.

Canterbury Leagues club chairman George Coorey met with Mitchell and that’s where he started to consider the big money elsewhere. Coorey was chastised by the Dogs for the meeting.

Garlick press

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Former Souths player and NRL judiciary panel member Sean Garlick is understood to be devastated about the media treatment of Sam Burgess while on a boat in Mexico celebrating Garlick’s 50th birthday.

The images of Burgess with a young woman on his shoulders have been a talking point and have Garlick seeing red. We’ve been told there were only five people on the boat under the age of 30.

The implications of the photos and video are potentially devastating for Burgess as he is currently separated from wife, Phoebe, and had an alleged altercation with his father-in-law in recent weeks which led to police taking out a temporary apprehended violence order against the against the English international. He was then charged with intimidation.

The images don’t portray a loving dad worried about the welfare of his kids after a marriage bust-up. That’s why Garlick is so gutted. He believes Burgess is the best person he has met in rugby league. He was one of the first people to bond with Burgess on his arrival in Australia when they started playing golf together and they have a strong friendship. Burgess is in for a rough few months and he will need mates such as Garlick to stick by him.

Bad business

We have kept you in touch with the ongoing dispute between business partners Isaac Moses and Joe Wehbe. The Moses camp was pushing a story that the matter was settled a few weeks ago and everything is fine now. But that’s not the case. The matter was mentioned in court last week and the issue is very much a live one.

Off and on again

The NRL’s so-called tough stance against player behaviour is clearly not working. The off-season is only a few weeks old and already we’ve seen a stream of incidents which have, again, damaged the reputation of the game.

The footage of Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s flying fists outside a Bali nightclub went viral. Yet, after claiming it was self-defence, the Storm managed to negotiate a penalty that will see him miss three Tests but not a single game for his club. Melbourne will be delighted that the big prop will return to training fresh and injury-free.

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Since then Sam Burgess has been charged with intimidation after an alleged row with his estranged wife Phoebe’s father. He retired on the same day as the charge was laid so he will not face an NRL sanction.

And Manly’s Manase Fainu is in jail after he was denied bail and charged with stabbing a man at a church dance. He is the fourth player to have the ‘‘no-fault’’ stand down rule applied in less than 12 months.

The NRL claimed earlier this year that player behaviour was driving away sponsors and threatening the viability of the game. But nothing has changed.

Todd Greenberg keeps saying that there will be serious consequences for players who do the wrong thing. But there is a perception among fans that players from some teams can expect a longer stint on the sidelines than the more powerful clubs. It’s a perception which needs to be rectified.

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What is also interesting is that in a week where the NRL is faced with more player behaviour issues, representatives from the players union, the Rugby League Players Association, are at a Sports Law conferencein Perth. Chief executive Ian Prendergast, chief operating officer Tim Lythe and Adrian Turner are all there. The RLPA continues to oppose the ‘‘no fault’’ stand down rule even after the Fainu incident.

Sponsors have reiterated to the NRL this week the importance of the rule. They are of the view it protects the image of the game. The RLPA put out a vanilla statement about the case, giving the feeling it is missing in action. Senior figures within the NRL are shaking their heads at the RLPA’s lack of engagement on player behaviour.

Eddie an SBW fan

There was a weird symmetry about Eddie Jones coaching a team that knocked out a team that Sonny Bill Williams played in. Years ago – before Williams took off to France – it was Jones who championed him publicly saying he’d make it as an All Black. Williams took considerable heart and confidence from Jones public support before he took the plunge with Toulon. No All Blacks player who has won two World Cups has a higher winning percentage than SBW.

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