Jake Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles argues with referee Gerard Sutton after the match-winning try to Tyrone Peachey in the elimination final.
Jake Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles argues with referee Gerard Sutton after the match-winning try to Tyrone Peachey in the elimination final. Matt King

NRL boss Greenberg tells ref critics to 'grow up'

NRL boss Todd Greenberg has blasted coaches Trent Barrett and Shane Flanagan for their explosive press conferences, labelling it "ridiculous” to blame the referees for their sides losses in the two elimination finals.

Barrett and Flanagan gave extraordinary tirades after fellow losing coach Brad Arthur had also complained about several calls that went against the Eels on a weekend marred by controversy.

The Manly and Cronulla coaches can both expect fines, with Greenberg confirming breach notices would be delivered "in the next 24 hours”.

While there were several 50/50 decisions that defined close results in all of the four games over the weekend, Greenberg said there was a "culture of blame in our game” that had a tendency to raise its head after teams had experienced close losses in big games.

Without clearing the officials completely of blame, Greenberg made it clear he would come down hard on any coach who unfairly paints them in a negative light.

"We've just had one of the most exciting rounds of final footy I think of all time,” Greenberg said.

"We're very fortunate to have a sporting contest as even as this.

"And yet in a fantastic round of finals it's been marred by the response of some of the losing teams.

"Unfortunately we've developed a culture in our game of blaming match officials for a loss.

"It sets a terrible example to fans and a terrible example to grassroots and it's got to stop.

"It's time for the game to grow up.

"What I saw on the weekend was nothing short of phenomenal.

"I'm not saying the referees are perfect - they never have been, and they never will be. I'm not saying our referees got every call right but I have reviewed the games and I can tell you the vast majority of the calls were spot on.

"The disputes we're talking about are on some really tight calls, 50-50 calls. And there'll be debate and there'll be controversy no matter which way that they go, that is the game.

"But players make mistakes too, and that's what costs games, that's why teams lose, it's not the referees.

"And that culture has to change, we have to grow up and we have to take responsibility for our own outcomes.”


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