Northern Star

Rhino faces charge

THE Northern Rivers Rugby League Referees' Association believes Grafton Rhinos first-grade captain-coach Chris Osborne has accused one of their number of cheating in a report on the game published in The Daily Examiner on June 2.

Referees' association secretary Wil Constable said a strict interpretation of two paragraphs in the report of the local derby between the Rhinos and Grafton Ghosts on June 1 implied the referee favoured one team.

"We (the referees' association) take that comment as a direct attack. He's saying that the ref cheated," Constable said.

As a result, the association cited Osborne and he has been called to front the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) judiciary at the Lismore Workers Club next Wednesday night.

Constable said the association was taking a literal interpretation of the offending paragraphs.

In the June 2 report, Osborne notes the 18-4 penalty count against his team:

"They tried to even it up with the penalties, but we just outenthused them," he is reported as saying.

Osborne disputed the interpretation and said there was no way he ever intended to disparage the referee.

"Look, the referees do a great job, there's no way we can play the game without them," Osborne said.

"If that was the way they took it, I have been misquoted.

"Apart from that, there's not much more I can say."

NRRRL secretary Doug Harrison said Osborne would appear before the judiciary facing a general charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

He said the citing relied on a highly literal interpretation of the comment.

In another matter arising from the Grafton derby, Harrison has cleared up any contention about Ghosts centre Aaron Hartmann's eligibility to play in the game.

Hartmann was picked in the Northern Rivers representative team but did not play in the side against Group 19 at Ballina on May 31.

Harrison said he believed Hartmann had been dropped from the squad 10 days before the game and was, therefore, eligible to play for the Grafton Ghosts against the Rhinos.

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