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On The Pitch

Club Statement

Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has called for a full explanation from the RFL after video referee Steve Ganson chose to award a contentious, late try to Hull FC yesterday and has issued the following statement:

I am a pragmatist, it's gone now. We can't get the result back. We have to take it on the chin, give credit to FC for sticking in, and respond in the right way. I know that come the middle of the week this will all be consigned to history and we will sit and look at the table and see ourselves sitting outside the top eight. It is up to us to show resolve and not let this ruin our season. At the same time though, I owe it to the fans, players and coach to ask for the RFL to issue a proper explanation for what has to be the single worst decision in the last 10 years of rugby league.

Going into the last 10 minutes we had three tough calls go against us, with a blatant knock on in the lead up to Hull’s first try, a phantom offside by us giving them the position from which Kirk Yeaman scored, and a video referee decision on the grounding which was highly questionable in my opinion.  I can’t have any complaints over those in isolation, although they were wrong, in the same way we benefitted from some similar calls last year. But any one of them being called right would have avoided the last call. The amount of money and resource ploughed into the officials' department entitles us to expect better and more consistently correct decisions.

I had a call last night from Steve Ganson with an apology and explanation for making the wrong decision. I like Steve and respect him for doing that, and our conversation will remain private. The apology since issued by the RFL though is wholly inadequate. I have a group of players who are distraught that their efforts have not had the reward which they deserved. I have supporters who have again turned up in their numbers at great expense and who feel cheated, and a coach fighting for a new deal whose livelihood could stand or fall on these decisions.

For all of them I need more than ‘sorry’ from an ex-Hull FC player, coach and vocal advocate down the years. It is empty and tokenistic and an insult to our fans. The clear impression is that ‘sorry’ is enough and all is forgotten come Tuesday when everyone goes back to work. They are baffled and mystified and need to know why the call was made, and what lessons will be learnt from it.

In my opinion, we are no further on in improving the standard of refereeing than we were at the inaugural Magic Weekend when there was the Leeds versus Bradford fiasco, and the reason for that, in no small part, is down to the ‘respect campaign’. Legitimate criticism and debate is suppressed by a zealous desire to cover over incompetence, serious weaknesses and under performance. Every week someone, somewhere feels aggrieved, and it’s us this week. I have zero confidence that will change any time soon.

Photo: Club Statement