ARL acts quickly on bias claims

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 April, 1996, 12:00am

The Australian Rugby League has moved quickly to defuse allegations of bias against Super League clubs.

Both the Penrith and Canberra clubs were highly critical of referees' performances after controversial losses last weekend. The Raiders had both front-rowers, Quentin Pongia and John Lomax, sent off in a 30-20 loss to St George.

And the Panthers went down 24-22 to Newcastle after holding a 20-4 half-time lead. 'The performance of the referee was disgraceful,' Panthers' coach Royce Simmons said in an outburst that is likely to draw him a A$10,000 fine from the league.

'He never allowed us to play entertaining football and it was a woeful display.' The Canberra camp was incensed at an alleged comment by referee Paul McBlane to players on the field that he would make life tough for them later in the season.

Suspensions to Lomax (four weeks) and Pongia (six) have done nothing to improve the Raiders' disposition. But the league has acted quickly, sending referees' boss Michael Stone and senior official Geoff Carr to both Penrith and Canberra for talks.