Former Sky Sports commentator slams ‘poor standard’ of refereeing in rugby league

We all remember the days of Eddie and Stevo commentating on Sky Sports, whether it was the classic Rob Burrow Grand Final try for Leeds Rhinos, the Wide to West miracle for St Helens, or some Sam Tomkins brilliance for Wigan Warriors, the duo have provided us with some of the best moments in Super League history through our TV screens.

Those that remember the pair will also recall that Mike Stephenson, AKA Stevo, was never shy in sharing his opinions, particularly when it came to referees – the former Great Britain World Cup winner perhaps quicker to criticise than praise when it came to the match official.

Now residing in Brisbane, Australia, Stevo watches as much of the NRL a she does Super League these days, but having taken in a lot of rugby league from both sides of the world this season he believes that the overall standard of refereeing in the sport is ‘poor’.

Speaking on his weekly podcast in which he reunites with former Sky Sports colleague and friend Eddie Hemmings to from the ‘Eddie and Stevo Podcast’, Stevo was again not shy in sharing his opinion on the match officials both in the UK and Australia.

“Watching games there was one point, well a couple of points actually, and that’s that I’m beginning to wonder and worry about the standards of our referees,” said Stevo.

He continued: “At this point in time, both here in Australia and in the UK, I think it’s a poor standard. They are coming up with a lot of mistakes, forward passes for some unknown reason, are not being found out.

“A couple of occasions down here in Australia, one where it was so obvious to everybody in the crowd, and yet the touch judges didn’t imply to the official that it was a forward pass.

“I mean, one was so ludicrous that you have to laugh, but you can’t laugh because it made sure that the team lost the game through a forward pass.

“There was a couple in the Wigan-Warrington sort of situation. Now, I’m not saying that Wigan didn’t deserve to score 26 points, but it’s infuriating to see the officials, the standard is not great.”