Referees feel the pain as coaches dish the blame

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LIKE a lot of people who sit in the stands, I’ve wondered why anyone would want to be a referee.

Maybe they really enjoyed being a prefect at school or failed the interview to be a traffic warden? Or they could just like wearing uniforms.

Okay, referees get a pretty good view of the game but is it worth being the focus of the blame game?

The man in black (although that’s getting rare these days, it’s more likely to be in a coloured kit that wouldn’t look out of place behind the counter in McDonalds) is expected to get every decision right and even when they do at least half the people watching will never agree.

Referees play a part but they can never be winners.

Look what referee Matt Thomason has to put up with every time he takes charge of a Sheffield Eagles against Keighley Cougars game.

At Don Valley a week or so ago it was a messy, untidy, niggling affair in which just about everyone except the Eagles mascot tried to bend the rules.

Mr Thomason managed to end the game having awarded 11 penalties to each team.

Pretty even handed you might think – not in the view of the Keighley Cougars player-coach Jason Demetriou.

He went on youtube and announced that ‘in 30 years playing I don’t think I’ve come across a more biased referee’.

That must be a runner for the Arséne Wenger tunnel vision award for only seeing what you want when your team’s lost.

Not that it was such a good day at the office for Mr Thomason when the clubs met at Keighley back in April.

The Cougars won helped by a try awarded after the referee lost count of the tackles and allowed the Cougars to score on the seventh play.

Add in ruling out a possible try for the Eagles and Mark Aston wasn’t well pleased. Strangely that time around Jason Demetriou didn’t rush to youtube to comment on the ref.

Mr Thomason must have wondered if he’s offended someone in the referees’ office at the Rugby Football League when he got the call to take charge of the return game.

Now if league positions stay as they are at the moment and the Eagles finish in third and Keighley in sixth the teams will meet in the first round of the play-offs.

Any odds on who will hold the whistle?

Meanwhile, the hunt has been launched for a new sponsor for the Super League from 2013.

Now there’s a surprise.

Most people doubted if rugby league’s flagship competition even had one this season.

The naming rights to the league were ‘given away’ to the Eddie Stobart transport group in return for supposed high-profile advertising on their truck fleet.

The trouble is that most of us have yet to see a Stobart truck wearing its rugby league kit.

Not for the first time the game’s bosses have been taken for a ride.