Ex-referee blasts major decision as ‘oldest trick in the book’

Ex-referee Ian Smith has slammed the decision to lift John Bateman’s one-match ban for “foul and abusive language”.

Bateman played for Wigan last night in the Warriors’ 14-0 loss to Leeds Rhinos. However, that appearance almost never came with Bateman initially being banned for the occasion following a Grade A charge from the Wigan-St Helens derby.

The former Canberra forward had been charged with “foul and abusive language” towards referee Chris Kendall, which was an automatic one-game ban.

However, Bateman and Wigan pleaded not guilty and then appealed – with success.

Minutes from the meeting have been disclosed and Bateman – as well as the man-in-the-middle Chris Kendall, were in agreement that a comment – along the lines of “give your head a ****ing shake” – was said.

Wigan assistant coach John Winder, however, explained how that was aimed at Saints forward Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook rather than Kendall which, after the appeal, was agreed with by the panel.

Yet, Smith has blasted the decision, calling the blaming it on an opposition player as “the oldest trick in the book”.

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