SHEFFIELD Eagles boss Mark Aston has hit back at jibes by a rival coach that his ‘moaning’ was influencing referees.
The war of words was sparked by Keighley’s player-coach Jason Demetriou after the Eagles 16-6 win over the Cougars.
“I would certainly challenge his comments on me ‘moaning’ about refereeing,” said Aston.
“I’ve not done too much of that but I have criticised the judicial (disciplinary) system and their diabolical decisions.”
In an interview posted on YouTube Demetriou was highly critical of match official Matt Thomason saying: “In 30 years of playing I don’t think I’ve come across a more biased referee.”
He added: “Maybe I need to be more like Mark Aston and moan about quitting the game and leaving if I don’t get my own way.”
Aston dismissed any suggestion that the Eagles get “preferential treatment” from referees.
“I don’t know how he (Demetriou) can say the refereeing was one-sided because the penalties were 11-11,” said Aston. “How can that be one-sided? Maybe we’re not as ill-disciplined as some other teams. We try not to be messy and slow the game down.”
Referee Thomason was in charge of both the games between the Eagles and Cougars this season.
There was controversy following a 23-16 defeat at Keighley in April after the home side scored a try after the referee allowed seven tackles. Eagles players Alex Szostak and Dane McDonald were later suspended for two matches for a dangerous tackle with video evidence from a Cougars fan used at the disciplinary hearing.
Aston added: “My two players got a ban at Keighley based on film footage off a mobile phone. That’s what I moaned about. But I don’t whinge and moan about referees.”