‘Out of order’: Manly issued $25k fine for ref attacks

Manly has been issued a $25,000 breach notice for a sustained public attack by coach Des Hasler and players on match officials.

The Sea Eagles were issued the notice on Friday morning with NRL CEO and ARLC chair Peter V’Landys both voicing their disappointment in comments around referee Ben Cummins’ performance in last week’s 22-20 loss to Parramatta.

Hasler claimed the Eels were “legged up” by Cummins in their comeback win, doubling down in multiple interviews over the weekend before prop Josh Aloiai echoed the sentiments that Cummins “did a bad job”.

“The comments by a coach of Des’s standing were disappointing,” Abdo said.

“Particularly disappointing was the sustained criticism of match officials over the course of the week.

“To see not only a coach, but a player, criticise officials to this extent is not the level of professionalism we expect in rugby league.”

Manly will have five business days to respond to the notice, rubbing salt into the wounds of a 28-8 loss to Melbourne on Thursday that leaves them outside the top eight.

Hasler has been fined for comments around officiating on several occasions over the course of his lengthy coaching career, once famously labelling referees Voldemorts, an evil character from Harry Potter, so he would avoid any sanction for referring directly to whistleblowers.

The veteran coach claimed this week that he did not “remember what I said,” in the aftermath of the Eels loss, “but I wouldn’t have said anything controversial that’s for sure.”

V’landys took Hasler to task on Sydney radio shortly before the breach notice was issued.

“Des Hasler is a great bloke and a fantastic human being, but he was out of order last week in criticising the referee’s integrity,” V’landys told 2GB on Friday morning.

“He should not do that. That referee (Cummins) has a family. He’s got self-esteem, he’s got his mental wellbeing, you don’t just go and attack someone’s integrity like that.

“I know it’s a passionate game and it’s a tribal game and we all have banter about the referees, but this is what causes referees at junior games to be abused by parents.

“Because they see someone of the standing of Des Hasler having a crack at a referee, when you shouldn’t be – you just cop it.”

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