NRL referee Ashley Klein has come under fire after making a league record seven sin-bin calls in South Sydney’s fiery elimination final win over the Roosters.
There was no love lost between the two rivals right from the first minute, as Klein struggled to maintain spotfires all over the ground throughout the match.
Roosters star Victor Radley and Taane Milne were both binned twice, with Tom Burgess, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Junior Tatola all given their marching orders by Klein.
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Klein sensationally made a rare double sin-bin call in the second half after Radley sparked a fiery scuffle, sending the Rooster off along with Tatola for what seemed an innocuous tap to the head of Egan Butcher.
The call left a number of league greats scratching their heads.
“Junior Tatola, I think he pushes someone in the head, nothing in it. If he sin-bins him for this, honestly, it is an absolute farce,” Andrew Johns said on Nine’s NRL coverage.
“It’s laughable, absolutely laughable. Tatola comes in, he just sort of pats him on the head.
“Victor comes in and pushes him because god forbid, if you throw a punch, what a joke.”
“That’s a sin bin because they’re worried about what’s going to happen,” Billy Slater added.
Klein admitted the referees had “massive control issues” when speaking to stand-in Souths skipper Latrell Mitchell after Tatola was binned.
Tensions boil after third sin-bin
The brutal and chaotic nature of the contest drew comparisons to the incredible Origin decider earlier this year.
Maroons icon Darren Lockyer and NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler were also critical of the refereeing.
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”I think this should be refereed a bit like an Origin, (give the players) a bit of leeway,” Lockyer said on Nine’s coverage.
“It was quite obvious early how this game was going to be played and the referees needed to have a cool head about it,” Fittler added.
“What Victor did was absolutely nothing … it was over-aggressive, yes, but a sin bin, no.”
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