Gallen backs down from ref criticism

Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen has backed down from controversial accusations his side was treated unfairly by the referees during a 30-18 win over North Queensland on Saturday.

Gallen delivered a stinging rebuke to on-field whistleblower Matt Cecchin and David Munro demanding they “ref it evenly” and inferring all of the 50-50 calls were going against his side.

The comments could still come under scrutiny by the NRL, which has strict guidelines about commenting on the performance of officials.

Afterwards Gallen distanced himself from the controversial comments, and explained it as an attempt to wrest back control after the Cowboys fought back from 18-0 down to get within six points.

“I was just trying to change momentum,” Gallen said.

“Momentum was going their way in the second half no doubt about that.

“I didn’t mean anything by it.”

The NRL enforces strict guidelines about players and coaches commenting on decision-makers during post-game press conferences.

In March, Canterbury coach Des Hasler was given a $10,000 suspended fine for his bizarre criticism of the referees, in which he called them “Voldemorts”, following a defeat to Penrith.

It is unclear if the NSW captain’s comments, which were picked up by an on-field microphone and aired on the television broadcast, would fall under the governing body’s rules.

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