REFEREES Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton were accused of losing control of yesterday’s match at ANZ Stadium following a ”strange” decision to sin-bin Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless for an offence he didn’t commit and later ”squaring up” by dispatching South Sydney centre Beau Champion for an equally dubious offence.Players and officials on both teams last night were still mystified by the send-offs, which followed a 61st-minute warning from Sutton to Cayless and rival skipper Luke Stuart that the referees were prepared to take action that could ”determine the game”.Less than three minutes later, Cayless was given his marching orders for a strip by teammate Daniel Mortimer on Rabbitohs five-eighth John Sutton. When he protested his innocence, Cummins told Cayless: ”Someone stripped it from him. Go or I’ll send you”.After telling Eels co-captain Nathan Hindmarsh that the next Souths player to be penalised would also be sin-binned, Cummins then sent Champion from the field for 10 minutes over a high tackle on Jarryd Hayne that even the Parramatta star said he had not committed.”Haynesy said he got him around the chest,” Cayless said afterwards. ”It was a bit of a square-up and we got away with it so that was good. I didn’t rake the ball but I was the one who copped it.”It was a bad decision and he squared it up … It was a very puzzling decision, it was just lucky it didn’t cost us the result.”Asked if he thought the referees had lost control of the match, Cayless said: ”I think they did struggle to keep control of the game. There were two passionate teams and there was a lot at stake.”That was of little consolation to Champion, who was sin-binned in the 66th minute for a tackle on the Eels line as Souths looked to take advantage of the overlap created by Cayless’s dismissal. ”I’m still a bit frustrated as to why he [did] it,” Champion said.”If we scored there, momentum might have swung our way and I’m still a bit mesmerised as to why it was a send-off offence. It was not a professional foul. I didn’t even think the tackle was high. If he made the decision to send Cayless off then he probably needed to even it up if we did anything wrong, that’s all I could see.”Rabbitohs coach John Lang felt his team’s discipline had been good before then, while Parramatta’s Daniel Anderson thought the match officials had been keeping the Eels back more than 10 metres in defence. Both were shocked the match officials suddenly warned the two captains that they would not tolerate any more penalties after a 61st-minute penalty for a high tackle by Eels forward Justin Horo.”They’re all over the place,” referee Sutton told Cayless and Stuart. ”It slows down the game when they’re critically important. And if you lose someone to the sideline, that’s going to determine the game. It’s up to you blokes to take control and fix it up.”Anderson said: ”It was a strange decision to sin-bin a bloke for a rake or stripping the ball when we hadn’t been penalised that much for stripping the ball that I can remember.”Obviously they got frustrated with us and I didn’t understand why they got frustrated. And I thought in the first half … we were getting pinged for not getting back the 10 [metres] when we were back 11 [metres].”Lang said the sin bin was meant to be used for professional fouls – not foul play. ”I didn’t even know you could get sin-binned for a high tackle but I might be wrong,” he said.The performance of the referees prompted an angry response from Phil Gould during Channel Nine’s commentary. ”Those two referees there, you’re sacked next week. Gone. You’ve just made a mess of this game,” Gould said.
Nanjing Night Net