Refs axed over Soliola non-call

The release of the match officials list each Tuesday isn't normally cause for news - however this week there are some notable omissions.

Senior NRL Bunker official Bernard Sutton and assistant referee Chris Butler have both suffered demotions as a result of their missed call (the failure to send off Canberra forward Iosia Soliola) in Saturday's controversial Raiders-Storm clash at GIO Stadium, although head referee Matt Cecchin and review official Bryan Norrie have survived any punishment.

Sutton will continue to serve as an NRL Bunker official over the weekend, albeit with Luke Patten as his senior official in all matches to which he's assigned. Butler meanwhile has been dropped to the QRL Intrust Super Cup, where he'll be head referee in Sunday's TV clash between competition heavyweights Redcliffe and PNG.

Referees boss Tony Archer was clear on the processes in place:

"The officials who were ultimately responsible for the decision, given it occurred in backplay, were the senior review official and the assist referee (Butler). As a result, Sutton will not be a senior review official in round 21, and Chris will officiate in Queensland Cup.

"It is my expectation that the assist referee firstly identifies incidents in backplay, while the senior review official should have taken stronger action due to the serious nature of this incident."

Archer had previously come out post-game via a statement which indicated the incident indeed met all the key criteria for Soliola to be sent off for his dangerous late tackle on Billy Slater.

Soliola was last night suspended for five matches by the NRL Judiciary.

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