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Sharp?s multi-media referee blast
Huddersfield coach Jon Sharp is in hot water after using video footage to highlight apparent refereeing blunders during his post match press conference on the weekend. After his team?s 26-22 Challenge Cup loss to St Helens on Sunday, Sharp criticized referee Ronnie Laughton?s performance, aided by match footage played on his computer.
Sharp was troubled with two of Laughton?s rulings; firstly the decision to disallow a Paul March try before halftime, and the awarding of a try to Darren Albert after it appeared he had failed to ground the ball. Sharp also went on to imply that the referee had a history of favouring ?Big 4? teams. Not surprisingly, Sharp failed to discuss the controversy surrounding Michael DeVere?s first half try during his audio visual presentation.
Sharp?s highly unorthodox method has not gone unnoticed by the RFL, which has referred the matter to disciplinary commissioner Norman Sarsfield. However the League itself has come under fire for the late replacement of original referee Ian Smith. St Helens officials revealed Smith had been the principle speaker at a Huddersfield supporters? fundraising night on the Thursday prior to the game. Smith had failed to inform RFL technical director Stephen Cummings of his appearance, and was subsequently withdrawn from the St Helens-Huddersfield game. As Sharp was eager to point out during his rant, switching a referee like this has ??set a dangerous precedent and questioned the integrity of Mr. Smith?.
The RFL?s opinion of Sharps? press conference precedent will be revealed in a discipline hearing scheduled for later this week.