“Referees deserve respect and support,” Abdo affirms, backing match officials.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has voiced his backing for the game’s referees, emphasizing the need for increased respect towards match officials. Abdo’s remarks come in the wake of a weekend marked by intense scrutiny directed at referees and Bunker officials, particularly regarding contentious decisions such as the try awarded to Gold Coast winger Phillip Sami and the no-try call against Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

In Saturday’s match against the Bulldogs, the Wests Tigers found themselves concluding the game with only 11 players on the field. This reduction was due to David Klemmer’s sin-binning for dissent and Alex Seyfarth’s for headbutting. Both players were subsequently charged by the match review committee, along with three others. Among these were Bulldogs prop Sam Hughes, charged with contrary conduct for pushing referee Kasey Badger, and Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney, facing charges of a dangerous throw and contrary conduct.

Adding to the disciplinary actions, Wests Tigers’ halfback Aiden Sezer has been handed a four-match suspension after pleading guilty to his fourth charge since round two.

The on-field conduct towards match officials, along with comments from coaches and club representatives, as well as reactions from fans on social media, have raised concerns, particularly as the league promotes initiatives like “Respect Round” for junior players.

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