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Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson launches attack on referees and NRL bunker

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Nanjing Night Net

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has launched an extraordinary attack on the NRL’s multimillion-dollar bunker and referee Ben Cummins, labelling the whistleblower as “disrespectful” and claiming the review process is making rugby league “soft”.

Despite all clubs and coaches being threatened with heavy sanctions for criticising the bunker, Robinson, flanked by Roosters supremo Nick Politis and chief executive John Lee, provided a scathing critique of the game’s officialdom.

His main objection was a late penalty against Roosters prop Dylan Napa for a high shot on Dragons debutant Taane Milne, with the rookie and Boyd Cordner helped from the field with concussion after a head clash. Napa was placed on report.

Robinson laughed at suggestions Napa’s shot could be worthy of a charge – claiming the decision cost his side a chance to win the game – and is bracing himself for a massive fine after the Anzac Day post-match spray.

“The bunker has decided to be the on-field ref today and they jumped in at every occasion,” Robinson fumed. “They’re not the match review committee.

“We’re on Anzac Day and we want to play a tough game and they were just soft calls coming from a bunker. Ben has been horrible and disrespectful to our players for many years.

“We’ve had good high percentage win rate up until this year and with Ben Cummins we’ve won two games under him. He speaks poorly to our players and he won’t look them in the eye. The way he spoke to Jake during the game was unacceptable.

“Two guys had a head clash — big play in the game — I don’t know if we would have won. St George [Illawarra] might have defended well and held on. That was a big play.”

The cellar-dwelling Roosters clawed their way back from an 18-point half-time deficit, but the Dragons limped home 20-18 for their seventh win in the last nine Anzac Day clashes. But it was just the start of the drama.

Politis seemed incensed in the back row during the press conference as his premiership-winning coach teed off, with Robinson fully expecting to be censured over his comments.

Asked if he would ring referees boss Tony Archer on Tuesday morning, Robinson said: “I’d say [NRL chief executive] Todd [Greenberg] might be ringing me. That might be a start. [But] you have to create change.

“It’s not something we like in our game. I’m not saying we should have won today … I’m saying we should have had a chance to win. You don’t want to walk in here and make excuses about today’s game. We lost it in the first half because we didn’t play well enough.

“But I’m also not going to sit here and allow poor decisions to go by because of a rule and not allow referees to talk to players the way they should over years.”

Friend said he challenged Cummins on a number of calls, but couldn’t get any appropriate response from the referee.

“He won’t talk to me,” Friend said. “As a captain I’ve got the utmost respect for referees and for the opposition. I know every call is not going to be the right one but I should at least be able to talk to Ben about that or let me know why he came up with that decision.”

Sam Moa and Eloni Vunakece were placed on report for a shoulder charge and crusher tackle respectively, heightening the Roosters’ concerns with the match review committee.

Friend also took a swipe at the Dragons, who he hinted lay down to earn penalties in incidents which were reviewed during stoppages. Robinson has been the most vocal advocate for the trend to be eradicated from the game.

“It doesn’t help that blokes will lay down because they know the bunker will slow it down,” Friend said. “Everything in slow motion looks worse. I don’t know how the bunker didn’t see the head clash [between Cordner and Milne].

“If someone is going to lay down and the bunker is going to come over the top every time then it’s going to create problems. As a team we don’t lay down and we just want to play the game. I guess that’s not everyone’s view.”

Added Robinson: “You can’t lie down and then come and make a big play on the next play. It’s not our game.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.