Jarryd Hayne’s brush with the referee was deemed incidental by the NRL match review committee, according to MRC co-ordinator Michael Buettner.
In his first game back in the NRL, Hayne became the latest player embroiled in the governing body’s crackdown on players making contact with match officials in Gold Coast’s loss to the Warriors on Sunday.
However less than one week after St George Illawarra forward Tyson Frizell was controversially rubbed out for one week, Hayne was a notable absentee when the charge sheet was released on Monday.
Gold Coast’s big-name signing appeared to make contact with referee Gavin Reynolds at Cbus Super Stadium, however Buettner said the situation was purely incidental.
“You can see the referee is stepping back, Hayne is in a position where he is looking to support the next play so the contact there was deemed incidental,” Buettner told NRL.com.
The Hayne touch was one of three similar cases looked at by the MRC from round 22, with incidents involving the Warriors’ Ken Maumalo and Canterbury halfback Moses Mbye also drawing attention.
Buettner said contact with the official was incidental or accidental on all three occasions.
“We’ll see this numerous times throughout the season. We saw it last round with James Tedesco who made contact with the referee Henry Perenara,” he said.
“Moses Mbye, who on this occasion, accidentally bumped into the referee after he had just awarded a try. You can see Moses Mbye put his hand up, as if to apologise, realising that it was an accident.”
Buettner said the rules were simple.
“Don’t touch the referee. Any careless, reckless or intentional contact with the referee will be charged,” he said.
“But in the game we play, the amount of players running around, the pocket referees getting in close to the action, there is going to be, from time to time, that incidental or accidental contact.”