NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell should have been sent off — instead of sin-binned — for his high shot on Roosters opponent Joey Manu.
- Abdo says he is disappointed the match officials chose not to send Mitchell off
- Mitchell is facing a suspension of between six and nine weeks
- Bunker official Henry Perenara has been stood down in the wake of the incident
Mitchell was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin for his high tackle on Manu in the Rabbitohs’ 54-12 win over the Roosters at Lang Park on Friday night.
The tackle left Manu with a suspected fractured cheekbone and he is likely to miss the remainder of the season.
The NRL charged Mitchell with a grade-two reckless tackle and he is facing a suspension of between six to nine weeks, which would rule him out of the Rabbitohs’ finals campaign.
Much criticism has been levelled at the match officials for not sending Mitchell off, with the NRL deciding to stand down bunker official Henry Perenara from Saturday night’s match between the Storm and Eels.
Abdo said he was left “frustrated” by the decision made by the match officials.
“I thought it was the wrong call, I think it should have been a dismissal, a send-off,” he told ABC Sport.
“But having said that, people make decisions in professional sport. Sometimes we debate them, sometimes they’re the wrong decisions.
“We analyse them, we deal with them professionally and we move on, and I was unfortunately a bit disappointed by what unfolded.”
While Abdo disagreed with the decision, he said the match officials followed the correct process in reviewing the incident.
He acknowledged the process was “not perfect” but said Mitchell’s tackle was referred to the bunker as it should have been.
“We reviewed it (the incident) this morning and had a listen to the audio,” he said.
“It was picked up immediately by the touch judge, who was obviously closest to it and had the best angle.
“The touch judge then indicated to the bunker to review the tackle and that started happening.
“So even though it ran for a few tackles, it was being reviewed and the bunker was making their recommendations through the referee.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson launched a tirade at the match officials in his media conference on Friday night, labelling the handling of the incident as an “absolute farce”.
He said Perenara was “supposed to know some footy” and claimed the bunker officials could not “do their job this year”.
Robinson is expected to be sanctioned by the NRL for his criticism.
Abdo said it was not appropriate for coaches or players to cast opinions on a person’s “integrity or character”.
“I understand how emotive everyone gets, I understand the frustrations, however we do have to be professionals,” he said.
Abdo said the decision to remove Perenara from the bunker on Saturday night was the right move.
“Henry is not going to be in the bunker today, and that is partly because we don’t believe it was the right decision, and also partly because he’s under huge pressure now,” he said.
“I don’t think it would be fair to him to expect him to officiate [after] the way he has been attacked.”