Stephen Kearney blasts referees after Warriors latest loss

Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sunday, 28 July 2019, 1:27PM
Stephen Kearney has taken aim at referees after the team's latest loss. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has reached the end of his tether.

He blasted the one-sided refereeing performance in Saturday's 24-22 loss to the Eels, and also slammed the NRL's new rule around stripping the ball, saying it should "piss off" out of the game if it can't be interpreted properly.

Kearney had every right to feel aggrieved, in what seemed a bizarre performance from the whistlers.

The Warriors have suffered some tough calls this season – notably against the Storm in Melbourne – but this was the nadir.

According to the referees, the Eels played the perfect game, as they weren't penalised once between the 10th minute and the 80th minute, while receiving nine straight penalties themselves.

They were also several calls that favoured the home side in the crucial final 10 minutes.

"If you have watched me over the last two and a half years I don't care too much for blaming," said Kearney. "You just sound like a whinging coach. [But] the penalty coach was 9-1 with 30 seconds to go. It makes your job really hard."

"I thought it was very ordinary. We could have been better in certain areas – I won't hide from the fact that we need to be better – but our roles were made really hard."

Among many things, Kearney was particularly frustrated by several decisions around stripping the ball; Chanel Harris-Tavita was penalised midway through the second half when he appeared to be the only one in the tackle, while towards the end of the match the Eels dislodged the ball from Gerard Beale with multiple tacklers, but the referees ruled it was a knock on.

"If they can't adjudicate on it properly, go back to normal," said Kearney. "Leave it alone. If they can't get right, which today it was pretty comprehensive that they couldn't, just leave it as it was. If you can't rule on it or make a decision, piss it off. Fair dinkum."

The climax of a frustrating afternoon came with the forward pass call in the 77th minute, when some Roger Tuivasa-Sheck magic had set Beale up for what would have probably been the match winning try.

"Last week there were two forward passes [by the Sharks] and they were tries," said Kearney. "I'm thinking it's line ball, on the back of a 9-2 penalty count, [but] they jump all over Roger's play. Obviously you can tell I am pretty frustrated with it all. You saw it all yourselves.

"We had enough opportunities to get a result. [But] it was made hard, there was no doubt about it."


The All Sports Breakfast

The All Sports Breakfast

6AM - 9AM