Canberra Raiders prop David Shillington has slammed the current treatment of referees as ‘‘ridiculous’’, imploring players, coaches and the media to show officials more respect.
After a tumultuous week where the NRL announced a review of its match official operations, Shillington believes referees are unfairly being made scapegoats.
Referees bosses Stuart Raper and Bill Harrigan were summoned to crisis meetings this week after the Greg Inglis-Origin try saga attracted unprecedented criticism.
But Shillington, who has taken over the Raiders captaincy this year following injuries to Terry Campese and Brett White, said enough was enough.
His comments come after Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis unleashed an expletive-laden tirade at referee Jason Robinson in his side’s win over the Roosters on Monday.
Robinson was also involved in a fiery debate with Roosters captain Braith Anasta.
But Shillington declared if players want respect from referees, it needs to be a two-way street. ‘‘I don’t want to be highly critical of them [Ennis and Anasta], but I just think it highlights we need more respect for referees,’’ Shillington said.
‘‘I thought they should have been sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. I think it’s ridiculous the way people are carrying on with the refs, whether it be the way captains talk to them on the field, all the way to people whinging about them in the papers.’’
Shillington believes clubs should look at their own back yard before placing the blame for losses entirely at the feet of officialdom.
Ironically, the Queensland Origin star’s club coach David Furner was fined $5000 for questioning the integrity of officials after Canberra’s round-nine loss at Manly.
‘‘It’s OK to be disappointed with some calls if they’re 50-50, but most of the time they get it right,’’ Shillington said.
‘‘It’s great to see so much passion and interest from so many different parties, but it’s got to be controlled and realistic.
‘‘You have to accept the ref’s not going to change his call, and rarely is a game decided through ref’s calls.
‘‘There’s a hundred different things a team could do better to win the game, not just rely on a ref’s call to get them over the line.’’
However Shillington said the players are looking for greater consistency in terms of how different referees officiate certain aspects of games.
‘‘A little bit of consistency would be good, at the moment sometimes different referees let you get away with different things,’’ he said.
‘‘Occasionally you get a ‘sorry, I got that wrong’, and it’s nice because everyone wants to be accountable for each other.
‘‘Players talk about their positions being a high pressure job and feeling vulnerable, but for referees it’s a whole different story.
‘‘Nobody seems to like them, but they get it right the majority of the time and we should be happy with that.’’