Rugby league: NRL stands down Warriors vs Eels match officials after multiple blunders

The NRL has admitted the match officials in the Warriors 24-22 loss to Parramatta Eels made crucial errors that influenced the outcome of the game. 

As a result, NRL head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley has announced referee's Chris Sutton and Chris Butler, and the two touch judges have been stood down for round 20. 

Speaking at his weekly briefing highlighting issues that stemmed from the weekend's results, Annesley pinpointed three key moments in the match that were poorly adjudicated. 

Two of which directly affected the Warriors. Chanel Harris-Tavita completed a legal strip early in the second half, but was penalised by the officials. Moments later the Eels scored a match-levelling try, which Annesley also deemed a mistake from the referee's.

Chris Butler has been stood down this weekend.
Chris Butler has been stood down this weekend. Photo credit: Getty
Chris Sutton has also been stood down.
Chris Sutton has also been stood down. Photo credit: Getty

Annesley noted a deflected ball between Blake Green and Eels playmaker Dyan Brown was propelled forward by Brown and thus a try should not have been awarded. 

The Warriors also benefited from on-field mistake - scoring a try through Issac Luke moments after Isaiah Papali'i clearly knocked the ball forward.

Annesley also identified a clear penalty to the Warriors that was ruled a loose carry with 13 minutes to play. Warriors winger Gerard Beale lost the ball in a three-man tackle, which replays showed the ball was stripped.

As for the potential winning moment for the Warriors, Annesley wasn't prepared to make a definitive call. Skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made a midfield break with three minutes on the clock, he offloaded a pass to Beale who had a free run to the line but the officials ruled the pass forward. 

Annesley felt the call was fifty-fifty and wasn't prepared to lay blame with the match officials.

"I understand the view of the Warriors and the fans of the Warriors on a pass like that, but I just don't believe that we can make a categorical determination on that one way or the other," he said.

"But putting that incident aside, there were the other incidents we looked at, which were critical incidents and did have an impact on the outcome of the game.

As a result of that - the four officials involved in that game will all be relegated for next weekend's round of NRL."

"A lot of those incidents were on the ball incidents that the referees should have picked up.

"The others, the touch judges were there to assist and all four officials have been involved in those errors."

The Warriors host Canberra on Friday night. 


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