St Helens coach Nathan Brown had some stern words for Shaun Wane and Wigan after Friday’s 16-12 victory over his team’s local rivals.
Saints remain top of the table after the win, but Brown did not pull any punches when discussing the standard of refereeing in the game.
He also reserved some of his bile for Wigan coach Wane, whom he feels may have played some part in influencing the referee in the run-up to the game.
“I thought the refereeing was horrible. Wigan got a lot of penalties, probably all deserved,” said Brown.
“But we deserved a lot more than we got, it was disappointing because we haven’t complained about the refereeing all year, but Waney [Shaun Wane]’s been on the referees’ case for the past six weeks, then lo and behold in the big game at Wigan, poor old St Helens are the side that cops it.
“I just find it really, really disappointing, and it sounds a bit like the NRL, in that the more you whinge and complain, the better things fall your way.
“So maybe we need to start whinging a bit more.”
Brown also intimated that he believed that the referee on the night, Phil Bentham, had been pressurised in the lead-up to the game by the Wigan coach.
“I’ve got no issue with the three penalties at the end of the game,” he added.
“I thought they were deserved penalties. A lot of the penalties were deserved.
“Their first penalty 15 or 18 minutes into the second half, which got them out of trouble when they were under pressure.
“I could find five or ten that he should have given us in the first 18 minutes but there was nothing for us, it was all for them.
“The penalty count reads as though we’re a really undisciplined side. As I said, we probably deserved every penalty against us, but I can find a lot more against Wigan, but the only thing I can put it down to is that a very good referee has been intimidated by the opposition coach putting him under pressure.
“As I said, the more you complain or whinge the better things might go for you, so maybe we need to join the crew and get stuck into officials at half-time.
“And get stuck into officials in the media all the time, and ring up Sharpy [Jon Sharp, Head of Match Officials Department at the RFL] and drive him mad, because if it works we may as well join in.”
“If it had went against us, I certainly wouldn’t have been complaining,” he mused.
“It went our way, but the thing is that they probably shouldn’t have been down there.
“They’d been piggy-backed down there, so it was probably fair for us to get it.”