Fifita referees ‘will quit’ rugby league

The three aspiring NRL referees allegedly abused by twin brothers Andrew and David Fifita have quit rugby league following the incident.

Penrith District Rugby League referees boss Phil Haines, himself a former first grade whistleblower, said one of the match officials involved in the alleged altercation on Saturday in Glenwood had already left the game, and he expected the other two to follow.

Cronulla forward Andrew and his twin brother and Sharks teammate David have been suspended from Penrith junior rugby league matches for 12 months over the incident.

Haines described the incident as “pretty bad” on Radio 2KY on Monday and said the referee involved, Tim Hannon, and touch judges Cameron Turner and Nathan Sharp were unlikely to officiate again.

He added previously all three match officials had designs to referee in the NRL one day.

“These incidents are isolated but they are completely and utterly unnecessary,” Haines said.

“We will lose three referees because of this incident whether it is proven to be true or untrue.

“I can confirm one touch judge had his son there, and his son was in tears and he has made a personal choice not to put himself or his son in that position again.

“He has walked away from the game and he won’t be refereeing with us any more.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday David Fifita was banned for 12 months over a similar incident in 2011, while according to News Corp the brothers were involved in another incident in 2013.

Haines said the latest alleged incident highlighted the issues the NRL faces in recruiting and retaining match officials.

“We have issues at Penrith at the moment, we have 100 referees on our books, last year we lost 30 referees,” he said.

“These incidents are turning referees away from the game.”

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