NRL bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea have been dumped from Sunday’s clash between Penrith and Gold Coast following a botched call on Saturday.
- The Sharks were awarded a try in the 10th minute, despite video evidence suggesting a Dragons player got to the ball first
- NRL head of football Graham Annesley removed the two referees from their Sunday duties
- Dragons coach Paul McGregor said the decision was “not good enough”
Clark incorrectly gave Cronulla forward Jack Williams a try in their four-point win over St George Illawarra despite replays showing Matt Dufty beat him to the ball.
The duo took just two looks at the vision before awarding Williams the try.
The decision was made in just the 10th minute, giving the Dragons plenty of time to overcome the error and get back into the contest.
However the misjudgement was deemed enough for NRL head of football Graham Annesley to pull the duo from the Titans’ game against the Panthers.
“The bunker decision to award a try to Jack Williams in tonight’s Sharks-Dragons game was incorrect,” Annesley said.
“Steve Clark and Ben Galea were due to officiate again tomorrow in the Titans-Panthers game as bunker officials.
“They have now been relegated, and will be replaced by Jared Maxwell and Bryan Norrie.”
The swift axing will be of no consolation to Dragons coach Paul McGregor, who was highly critical of the bunker’s call post-game.
Having found themselves down 14 points midway through the second half, McGregor’s side also blew two late opportunities to steal the victory.
“Pretty clear, right? So how do they keep getting it wrong and who’s accountable for it? It’s a stuff-up but, in the end, there’s the difference,” McGregor said.
“The person who’s watching this should, and all you guys should make enough song and dance to do something about it, eh, because it’s not good enough.”
Dufty said he was adamant he had beaten Williams to the ball.
“The boys asked me when it went to video ref, ‘Did you get it down?’ I said, ‘100 per cent I got it down’,” he said.
“Coach told me after the game that, yeah, I grounded it first.
“I said I thought I did. And even after they awarded the try, I was pretty shocked, I asked for a challenge, but he said it was a video ref so it wouldn’t work.”