Rohan Smith says coaches should be allowed to voice opinions on officials despite Marcus Griffiths incident

After Leeds Rhinos lost to Huddersfield Giants on Sunday there was a lot of focus on official Marcus Griffiths as he had a lot of 50/50 calls to make during the game including a drop goal that caused widespread discussion.

However, one individually seemed to think these 50/50 calls were reason enough to homophobically abuse Griffiths after the game on social media.

This has been universally condemned and now Leeds boss Rohan Smith has echoed those sentiments: “We all make mistakes; Players, coaches, media, referees, we are all subject to getting things wrong at times.

“We understand those things happen from time to time so I am really disappointed to hear there has been abuse directed toward the match officials.

“I think it was a team performance among the three officials, not just one person. We as coaches raise critical moments in the game sometimes in our press conferences, but it is nearly always measured and in context.

“I think anyone wanting to know the full coach’s view should really check out the press conference itself and listen to the whole argument before they want to critique a referee or make comment.

“The positive thing moving forward is the match officials team will have support next year with games being televised or streamed and a video ref being there to assist as well.”

However, he does not think coaches should be stopped from voicing their opinions on officials.

“Coaches and players always get questioned about their own performance.

“The referees have a critical role to play in the outcome, but also the spectacle of the game, so I don’t think it’s unfair for a coach to make comment, as long as it’s not a personal attack and it’s done in the right manner.

“To raise question of incident I don’t think is an issue. The game likes its controversy, but it should always be dealt with in a fair and respectful manner.”

He had previously said after the Huddersfield game: “We let ourselves down a few moments there. One of those tries we conceded from a scrappy kick. We got people walking in the background which was one try, bounce pass in the other corner is a bit unfortunate.

“Then there was a play where he looked like he was held. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. So chasing points is difficult in games where the ruck was all over the place and some critical moments in the game were influenced.

“Even at the back end there, we’re chasing the game and the player that doesn’t get to his feet laying on the ground, ends up retrieving our offload when we’re right in front of the post.

“There’s also a stoppage of play when we’ve made a break and we’re about to score on the next play, and we have a two minute stoppage, five minute stoppage, and then the player passes his HIA.

“We let ourselves down in a few moments, but there’s a huge amount of spirit there in the second half I thought we’re trying to overcome absolutely everything,  including a drop goal that didn’t go through.

“The kicker and his mates are all laughing that it didn’t go through, they were getting ready for a twenty metre restart and seven tackles.

“Everybody has said it didn’t go through. Except the decision makers. A couple of players in the opposition said it missed by a couple of metres.

“Sometimes they’re difficult when you look over the goalpost and you’re not sure if it’s a high kick, but in the end we had opportunities, we had opportunities, but some days it’s hard to overcome all of those things.”