Referee Gerard Sutton could be facing the axe. Photo: AAP
Referee Gerard Sutton could be facing the axe. Photo: AAP

Greenberg: Under-fire refs face axe

NRL boss Todd Greenberg has finally stepped into the refereeing crisis by guaranteeing a severe response to last Friday's controversial Cronulla-Canberra debacle.

Greenberg has indicated touch judge Ricky McFarlane and the game's No.1 referee Gerard Sutton will both face the axe as a result of two major blunders which cost the Raiders victory and killed off their top-eight hopes.

"You can take it as read that tomorrow's appointments will reflect some of that disappointment. There has to be accountability," Greenberg said on Monday.

"You can expect there to be accountability tomorrow."

The Daily Telegraph understands Greenberg has personally intervened this afternoon to ensure confidence is restored in the refereeing ranks after a weekend of outrage over the Friday night game.

Touch judge Ricky McFarlane could also be dropped after the controversial Raiders-Sharks ‘flag up’ incident.
Touch judge Ricky McFarlane could also be dropped after the controversial Raiders-Sharks ‘flag up’ incident.


Referees boss Bernard Sutton is in the awkward position of having to drop his brother Gerard, who failed to stop the game when McFarlane raised the touch judge's flag to indicate a knock-on.

The Daily Telegraph understands former No.1 referee Matt Cecchin will be appointed to handle the Sydney Roosters-St George Illawarra blockbuster this weekend.

It is uncertain whether Sutton will be demoted to a pocket referee role or dropped altogether from the round 21 appointments.