Canberra Raiders training at Raiders HQ. Coach, David Furner. Photo: Graham Tidy
The Canberra Raiders are adamant coach David Furner has been harshly treated and will fight his $10,000 fine after he was yesterday sanctioned for questioning the integrity of referees.
After Sunday's loss to Manly, Furner was grilled in the post-match press conference on the performance of Jared Maxwell and Tony De Las Heras after several dubious decisions went against the Raiders.
The Australian Rugby League Commission yesterday decreed Furner had questioned the referees' impartiality by declaring ''I don't think anyone expected us to come here and win, maybe not them [the match officials].''
Furner's frustration was born from the fact the Raiders have been one of the least penalised sides in the NRL.
Even after being on the wrong end of an 8-3 penalty count at Brookvale Oval, only the Cowboys, Dragons and Sharks have conceded fewer penalties this season.
Furner contacted NRL co-referees coach Stuart Raper yesterday, who admitted that two key decisions against Canberra on Sunday were wrong.
Raper confirmed the officials missed a knock-on by Manly winger Jorge Taufua midway through the second half, which would have given Canberra an attacking set 20 metres out. He also acknowledged the Raiders should have received a penalty when Shaun Fensom was ruled to have knocked on late in the game.
''We're definitely going to appeal it, that's what's been handed down at the moment, but at this stage we'll appeal it,'' Furner said.
''I answered them [the press conference questions] the best way I could, and I've spoken to Stuart Raper mainly about the game and the decisions.
''He has come back [and confirmed] we should have received the ball when [they ruled] Shaun Fensom knocked on, and also the [Taufua] knock-on.
''They're vital in the context of a game, they were momentum changers.''
Raiders boss Don Furner attended the post-match press conference and believes the club has legitimate grounds for appeal.
''When you have the Sydney media firing off questions, the first seven or eight questions were about the performance of the referees, the coach has to answer those questions,'' Furner said.
''You can't just say 'no it wasn't an issue' or 'no I thought they did a good job', he has to say what he thinks.
''Unfortunately what he thinks hasn't been well received.
''There's an inference there [of questioning referees integrity], but I don't think anyone thought we were a nearly three times worse offender in that category than Manly.''
Don said the Raiders' vastly improved discipline this season meant David struggled to comprehend the lopsided penalty count.
''That's part of his frustration, in the off-season they just worked so hard on their discipline and not being one of those teams that can get penalised,'' he said.
''Considering what he went through, I thought he was pretty reserved in his comments.''
The Raiders yesterday made no changes for their crunch game against struggling Parramatta this Sunday at Canberra Stadium.
Despite hooker Glen Buttriss being cleared to return from a knee injury, Travis Waddell has retained his place in the starting line-up.
Second-rower Bronson Harrison was named as 18th man after being dropped for the Manly game, but is still a chance to return against the Eels.