Hull KR went down 28-12 against Wakefield on Sunday afternoon, but Rovers boss Tony Smith was less than happy with the performance from the man-in-the-middle, Liam Moore.
Korbin Sims caught Wakefield full-back Max Jowitt in a heavy tackle, which was immediately penalised by referee Moore and after a brief consultation with his touch judge, Moore opted to dismiss the Robins’ prop from the field with 10 minutes remaining. After fighting back from 22-0 down to make it 22-12, the dismissal effectively ended any chance of a comeback for KR, who became the unfortunate first club for Wakefield to defeat this season.
However, Smith thought that that call – amongst others from the officials – was controversial.
He said, “I thought it was a pretty harsh decision. Particularly, since I have had a look at it, we had a few harsh decisions throughout that game, including the ball steal.
“When one of our opponents ran at an obstruction, Joe Westerman went to his knees, then the referee called surrender, that is not a tackle and our player still needed to complete the tackle.
“Dean Hadley was quick and smart enough to come up with that ball steal and was on his way through for a try and I thought that was a pretty significant time in the match.
“I think Dean was a bit smarter than all of us with that play.”
Coincidently, the Australian NRL has seen a high number of punishments given for heavy tackles, with up to 17 cards shown at the Magic Round last week.
When questioned about whether it may be relayed into the Betfred Super League, Smith said, “I do not know about whether the NRL has influenced the referee’s decision.
“I would be guessing about that, but what I saw on the video was the player who backed into Korbin’s arm, who then hit him in the back, between the shoulder blades and the kid is going down and his arm rode up over the top.
“That is what I saw. There was a big reaction around it and that is what we get with crowds and emotions.
“We have to be good enough to overcome those sort of things.”
Perhaps the biggest game breaking incident was the ball strip from Hadley on Westerman.
Wakefield led 6-0 at the time and though Hadley broke away, was denied an equalising try before Mason Lino proceeded to land his first penalty goal.
Opening up more on the incident, Smith added “What happens is, when you run behind your own player, they say if you go down or do not try to make any further progress, you will not get penalised.
“For that reason, Joe probably knew he ran behind his own player and did not want to be penalised. The tackle still has to be formalised and it was not!
“His ball carrying arm was still in the air. Just because he took a knee, it did not mean the tackle was all over.
“What the referee called was ‘surrender’ which then means you can stay on the tackle for longer when it is recognised that he is giving up.
“But ‘surrender’ does not mean the tackle was complete and should not mean it is complete!
“Just because Joe did something wrong by running behind his own player and then did not want to be penalised, surely Dean should be able to complete the tackle how he wants to?!
“Unless there is a change on my understanding of what a completed tackle is.”