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NRL head of football Graham Annesley has defended the match review committee’s decision to suspend Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes for one match, declaring “it’s never acceptable to push a referee”.

Hughes was hit with a grade two contrary conduct charge for making contact with referee Chris Butler during Saturday’s epic win over the Warriors, and while most people thought he did nothing wrong, the Storm accepted the ban, not willing to risk their star playmaker missing two games if found guilty.

The representative playmaker was trying to tackle Rocco Berry and pushed Butler out of the way, with Hughes copping a suspension even though Panthers star Jarome Luai was only fined last year for shoving a match official.

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Hughes’ charge is ‘absolute stupidity!’ | 02:08

“In our game, for as long as it’s been played, it’s never been acceptable to push a referee,” Annesley said.

“There will often be incidents where referees and players will have some kind of physical contact because they bump into each other due to circumstances.

“But it’s not acceptable to physically push a referee out of the way, regardless of the circumstances.

“We have to ensure that the match officials are protected.

“No one is suggesting for a second that there was anything malicious in what took place, but whether it’s to make a tackle, whether it’s to save a try of whatever it is, you can’t take a decision to move the referee out of the way.”

Viliame Kikau was denied a try which the NRL concedes should have been awarded. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

There was another incident on Friday night where the Bulldogs were denied a try because referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski blocked Braydon Trindall from tackling the much larger Viliame Kikau.

The Bulldogs weren’t happy with the decision, and it turns out they were right.

“I don’t believe this try should have been overturned,” Annesley said.

“The referee has to be somewhere on the field, he can’t just disappear.

“If we allow that try to be disallowed on that basis, we’ll have players making contact with the referees in multiple instances where they’ll be claiming that they’d been disadvantaged and asking for tries to be overturned.”

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‘I want us to get the fair calls’ | 06:21

There was another controversial moment in Manly on Sunday afternoon when the hosts were awarded a try even though it looked like Tom Trbojevic had taken out James Tedesco as he was contesting a kick.

But Annesley says the referees got it right, with Victor Radley playing a role in the collision and that Trbojevic had every right to be in a position to contest the ball.

Tedesco was asked about it roughly 200 metres away at Roosters training two hours before Annesley’s explanation.

“Watching it back, I feel like contact was made before I was able to catch the ball, and he didn’t have a contest for the ball – it was just contact on me before I could have a fair catch,” the fullback said, with the NRL sending a video to all clubs earlier this year to explain rule tweaks for kick obstructers.

“I asked Todd (referee Todd Smith) the question numerous times and he said they checked it, but they didn’t really go to the Bunker or anything to have an in-depth look at it so that’s a bit disappointing.

“It’s the heat of the battle so it’s hard, but they’ve definitely sent videos of those types of things, and they’ve been penalised.”

#acceptable #NRL #boss #backs #Hughes #ban #refpush #ensure #officials #protected

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