NRL referees boss Tony Archer has hit back at his critics following Neil Henry’s broadside at the men in the middle.
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry unleashed a measured but impassioned spray at the whistleblowers after his side’s 44-28 finals loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, ending his side’s stellar season.
Having been pegged as wooden spoon contenders at the start of the year, the Titans defied expectations to finish eighth but had their run ended at the hands of the Broncos following a slew of controversial calls.
The Broncos were awarded a penalty try to Jordan Kahu 10 minutes into the game when Konrad Hurrell kicked the ball out of his hands as he reached for the line.
The bunker ruled Kahu was certain to score and Hurrell had acted illegally, a view backed up by Archer.
The video referees also came under fire for a decision to overturn a Kahu knock on, ruling that Leivaha Pulu had got his hand to the ball first, with the Broncos racing up the other end and Kahu grabbing his second the next set.
And while the bunker has been the subject of widespread criticism this year, Archer boasted his men were operating at a near 100 per cent success rate.
“Well the bunker is sitting at a 99 per cent success rate this year,” Archer said after making the unusual decision to address the media after the game.
“What you determine on that is up to you.
“But what we do know is we’ve been more accurate this year, we’ve been quicker with it and there’s been more transparency around it.
“You hear and understand how we came up with that penalty try decision tonight and that’s one of the real benefits of it – last year we’d all sit in mystery.”
Chief among Henry’s gripes were a decision to penalise David Mead for taking out Corey Oates’ legs as they jostled for a bomb, with the Titans arguing he was contesting the possession.
Also, he questioned why James Roberts was not penalised for allegedly kicking Ryan Simpkins in the play-the-ball.
Both incidents happened in the lead up to Broncos tries and while Henry stopped short of saying they cost his side the game, he said his team was left deflated after being on the wrong end of a couple of calls.
He said Archer owed him an explanation and urged the press to be critical of the officiating on the night.
“I understand Tony Archer took some time out at halftime to explain to Darren Lockyer a penalty try situation but I hope he takes some time out to explain to me a couple of decisions out there,” Henry said.
“You talk about referees being protected species but I’ve got a huge question on David Mead going for the ball (and penalised), which was ultimately a momentum changer and they went up the other end and scored a try.
“And I’ve got another one where a player kicks a defender in the back, he has two goes at him and they don’t do anything about it.”