The NRL have named the referee for Game II of the State of Origin series after Gerard Sutton’s timekeeping incident on Wednesday.
The NRL have named the referee for Game II of the State of Origin series after Gerard Sutton’s timekeeping incident on Wednesday.

NRL make call on controversial referee

Despite calls for Gerard Sutton to be sacked, the referee will officiate his 18th consecutive State of Origin match on Wednesday.

Sutton came under fire after Game I at Adelaide Oval, where Queensland emerged as shock 18-14 victors.

Confused fans blasted the referee for blowing his whistle at full-time while the televised broadcast's clock suggested there were a few seconds left to play.

Sutton also ended the blockbuster match moments before the siren sounded at the venue.

With the New South Wales Blues threatening to score a late try, the seemingly early finish potentially robbed Brad Fittler's side of a late equaliser.

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However, an NRL spokesman revealed Sutton was provided an official countdown from the match-day coach in his ear.

"The referee gets a 10-second countdown from the match-day coach in their ear at the end of every half, based off the timekeeper," an NRL spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"The referee calls full-time off that, not the siren or the scoreboard timer."

 

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But The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent was not impressed with how Sutton handled the game's final moments, and called for him to be axed.

"Gerard Sutton needs to lose the game for the next game," Kent said on Fox League.

"He shouldn't control Origin again after that. He totally lost it there.

"Kaufusi was just belligerent and refused to go off the field and pretended he didn't know what was going on. Sutton should have got him off.

"And then in the last minute NSW actually passed the ball with time on the clock from dummy half. Then the siren rang with the ball in play and he whistled full-time. It doesn't make sense."

On Friday, the NRL confirmed Sutton would remain in control for Wednesday's Game II at ANZ Stadium.

"The Referees Appointments Committee felt the officials deserve the opportunity to take charge of the second match," NRL Head of Football Graham Annesley said.

"The appointment committee reviewed all aspects of the opening match very closely, and despite some public commentary about timekeeping, the review found the referee was correct."

Originally published as NRL make call on controversial referee


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