The NRL says Matt Cecchin has not been dropped for his blunder in not sin-binning Sydney Roosters’ Aidan Guerra, insisting he has been rested this weekend.
Cecchin was a notable omission on Tuesday afternoon when the league released its list of match officials for round six.
However the NRL said the whistle-blower had been rested because of his heavy early-season workload and wasn’t being punished for poor performance.
A NRL spokesman said referees boss Tony Archer had agreed to give the veteran referee the week off, in line with the governing body’s policy of giving the men in the middle a rest during the year.
Cecchin travelled to England for the World Club Challenge, controlled the NRL All Stars match, as well as the first five rounds.
The spokesman said all referees would be given a rest at some point during the season and it was up to Archer’s discretion when he thought his charges were burnt out and needed a break.
Archer on Monday admitted Cecchin should have given Guerra 10 minutes for holding back Warriors skipper Ryan Hoffman in the Roosters’ 32-28 loss on the Central Coast.
The Warriors were on the attack at the time and coach Andrew McFadden said it set a dangerous precedent if players were not given 10 minutes for professional fouls.
On Monday, the referees did not hesitate to sin-bin Canterbury back-rower Josh Jackson for a professional foul in his side’s loss to Canberra.
Cecchin also came in for criticism for referring a try to the video referees during the round-three match between Canterbury and Parramatta.
Cecchin asked the bunker to adjudicate on a decision after Dogs winger Sam Perrett crossed, questioning whether the last pass from Sam Kasiano was forward.
Because video referees cannot rule on a forward pass, it was questioned by Bulldogs coach Des Hasler why his side weren’t automatically awarded a four-pointer.
However, Archer backed Cecchin in that instance, saying the bunker had only been asked to rule on whether the ball had been touched by an Eels player.