Super League coach branded “a disgrace” by former official

After the games between Leeds Rhinos and Leigh Leopards, Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity and Salford Red Devils and St Helens there was one thing that dominated discussions and that was the comments made by Paul Rowley.

After losing 18-15 to St Helens, the Salford boss was a little disappointed after a strong performance from the Red Devils who led 15-2 only to concede 16 points without reply.

Following the game, Rowley said it was a “good game spoiled” as he described Jack Smith as “a disgrace” questioning why Salford never get the “two best refs” Chris Kendall and Liam Moore.

Now former official Ian Smith has said he was “out of order” for the comments saying on Total Sport on BBC Radio Manchester:

“We’re struggling with recruitment and retention of referees because of online abuse, because of abuse at games and for a prominent elite Super League coach to come out and call a referee ‘a disgrace’, ‘weak’ and ‘incompetent’ I think it’s too much and over the top.

“I think there are channels that he is allowed to through to vent his frustrations. He can go through the RFL, through the match officials department and I think to do it in an open forum, in a press conference straight after the game when the referee has no right to reply, I think it is totally out of order if I am perfectly honest.”

He also said it would stop people from taking on the role of an official.

He went on to say that Rowley was a “disgrace” for the comments.

On Total Sport, he said: “What is that saying to the next batch of referees that are coming through? What is that saying to the next batch of fans who are thinking that they might love to take up refereeing. But if that is what they are going to be subjected to from elite coaches well then.

“I think he’s a disgrace.”

According to BBC Sport Rowley and Paul Wellens after his John Asiata comments will face the RFL’s compliance board after their comments.

It will be interesting if anything emerges from this.