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Ref blunder damage immeasurable: Sharks
By Joe Barton
18:04 AEST Mon Mar 5 2012
Wests Tigers play Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
The NRL referees' coach has admitted Cronulla were dudded in Sunday's 17-16 loss to Wests Tigers.

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan claims referee Jared Maxwell's blunder in Sunday's loss to Wests Tigers caused "immeasurable" damage to his financially-stricken NRL club.

Maxwell and touch judge Jason Walsh were stood down by referees' coach Bill Harrigan for their golden-point error - which denied the Sharks an opportunity to win the game.

Wests were incorrectly awarded a penalty after Cronulla's Todd Carney's attempted field goal was charged down, with the Sharks deserving of a scrum feed 10 metres out from the Tigers line.

Flanagan took little comfort from Harrigan's admission that his side had been hard done by.

"It doesn't change anything," Flanagan told AAP on Monday.

"I still feel the same way. You don't want to see anyone lose their job but they've admitted they made a mistake."

Flanagan said he couldn't put a dollar figure on the cost of the decision to Cronulla, who are still without a major sponsor and under enormous financial pressure.

"To beat Wests Tigers in the first round at Leichhardt, you can't put a figure on that," he said.

"We could never know what it will cost us. A sponsor could've knocked on our door this morning after seeing the courage and spirit they showed yesterday.

"It is immeasurable the sort of damage that it does to a club.

"This club needs every competition point we can get and we need every dollar we can get.

"It is definitely (hard to cop). Two points is so valuable."

Harrigan made it clear on Monday that referees would be held accountable for their performances this year when he dumped the experienced Maxwell for round two of the season.

"We are not going to drop every referee who makes a mistake, but this is a mistake that clearly should not have been made," Harrigan said.

"The circumstances of this decision warrant the action we have taken.

"That decision was incorrect. The players were no longer offside due to the act of the charge-down.

"The touch judge and the referee got that decision wrong."

The Sharks were also fuming about a decision to deny centre Colin Best a late try but Harrigan confirmed the correct decision had been made.

Flanagan was upset the decision wasn't referred to the video referee after Maxwell ruled Best had committed a double movement in attempting to score.

"Colin Best's arm carrying the ball hits the ground, his momentum stops and then there is a second effort to get the ball over the line," Harrigan said.

"At no stage does the tackler drop off him, so the tackle was correctly deemed complete.

"There is no grey area with this ruling; it is a clear double-movement."

In his post-match comments, Flanagan claimed video referee Steve Clark had indicated to him the try would have been awarded if it had been sent upstairs - but Harrigan said no conversations took place between Sharks officials and the referees.


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