Archer sacked from First Grade

Referee Tony Archer and touch judge Steve Carrall have been sacked after failing to pick up a blatant forward pass in the Ergon Energy Broncos' 18-16 loss to St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night.

NRL referees' coach Robert Finch confirmed yesterday Archer and Carrall would not officiate this weekend because of the error in the 15th minute following a break by St George Illawarra second-rower Ben Creagh.

Creagh put centre Matt Cooper in for a try with a pass which went several metres forward before Archer stunned the 32, 914 crowd by awarding the try.

Mathew Head converted the try for the Dragons to trail 8-6 after a bright start by the Broncos.

"That was the only real blemish on Tony's game but obviously it was something that should have been called back," Finch said.

"The pass was a fair way forward. It's unfortunate for Tony because otherwise he handled a tough game well."

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said he took no satisfaction in Archer's demotion.

"I wish he had got the call right, then they wouldn't have had to sack him," Bennett said.

Finch stood by Archer's decision to penalise Dragons fullback Clint Greenshields in the 54th minute for walking off the mark after being called held, even though Greenshields quickly retreated to play the ball when he realised he was in the wrong.

Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer landed an easy shot at goal from the penalty to give his side a 14-12 lead

"Clint had advanced about 5m and you can't let that go," Finch said.

State of Origin referee Steve Clark's name is also missing from the NRL list this weekend but only because he will be in England for next Wednesday's Test between Britain and New Zealand at St Helens.

Clark will also referee a Super League match between Les Catalan and Harlequins in France on Saturday.

Shayne Hayne will referee Sunday's round-16 match between second-placed Brisbane and seventh-placed Manly at Brookvale Oval.