Roosters coach Trent Robinson annihilated the referee after his side’s defeat to the Panthers on Friday night, branding one decision “horrible” and rattling off several others he opposed.
The Tricolours mentor was then backed up by rugby league legend Cameron Smith, who described a penalty against hooker Sam Verrills as a “shocker” on Nine’s post-game coverage.
The Verrills penalty, which saw the Roosters rake pinged for a dangerous tackle against Scott Sorensen, stemmed from the Panthers back-rower toppling over the defender and getting his head in a dangerous position.
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Referee Gerard Sutton blew his whistle because he deemed that Verrills’ tackling technique was at fault, before Penrith rolled up the field and capitalised through a try.
“That’s just a horrible decision. We shouldn’t let a try in on the end of it, but there were so many poor decisions tonight,” Robinson said in his post-game press conference.
“We had the same referee last game and it was 30-odd offsides and it was a 3-1 penalty count and it was like, ‘Well, this is normal’.
“And then at every opportunity (in the Panthers clash) … it was the Sam Verrills one, we also had the sin-binning one (against Angus Crichton) … we’re not playing rugby union. You either stop the game, send him to the bin there; you don’t give them opportunities.
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“And then the offsides on the try line … it was just (giving) them opportunities. The offsides on both sides. You can call (Isaah) Yeo, you can call (Nathan) Cleary constantly, but if you don’t penalise them you end up with 28 per cent possession.”
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Despite Robinson’s comment regarding possession, both sides had 50 per cent of the footy.
A top-notch ball from Nathan Cleary to Izack Tago with about 15 minutes remaining stole the lead back for Penrith, before the reigning premiers added another try and closed out a 26-18 triumph.
“It wasn’t a good enough performance (from the referee) tonight,” Robinson said.
“The Nat Butcher one at the end there … they’re big decisions that you can’t get wrong, and it wasn’t good enough.”
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Smith was dumbfounded at the Verrills penalty.
“That tackle from Sam Verrills … that’s a tackle that you’re taught at six or seven years of age in junior football,” Smith said.
“That’s not a dangerous tackle. It’s not his responsibility to worry about where the ball-carrier ends up landing. And that’s the explanation that Gerard Sutton gives there.
“I was refereed by Gerard Sutton many, many times throughout my career, and he’s a great referee, but that’s a shocker.”
Robinson has another problem to rue after prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho was reported for an ugly high shot on Viliame Kikau.
The Panthers back-rower passed a head injury assessment and returned to have a considerable impact on the match, scoring a try, unleashing a series of barnstorming runs and stamping his authority in defence.
Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns described the Fijian international as a “genetic freak” on Nine’s post-match coverage.
The Panthers and Roosters are both set for a bye in round 17.
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