Salford boss Paul Rowley launches scathing attack on officials; says sport will ‘probably lose fans’

Josh McAllister
Paul Rowley, Salford Red Devils head coach

Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley believes his side have been 'let down' by officials. Photo by Steve Flynn/News Images.

Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley has hit out at the referee’s performance following his side’s late 18-15 defeat to St Helens.

The Salford Stadium outfit had led 15-2 at half-time before St Helens successfully fought back in the second 40, with Jack Welsby snatching the victory 10 minutes from time.

Matty Lees and Tommy Makinson also scoring to inflict Salford’s 11th defeat of the season, leaving them outside the play-offs two points behind Hull KR, who lost to Wigan on Friday.

Rowley used his post-match press conference to launch a scathing attack on the match officials and the quality of refereeing in general following the Round 21 loss.

He said: “That’s three home games in a row now where we have been absolutely let down by the officials…it’s so hard.

“If we had won the game I would have probably have come in and said the same thing.

“I have watched (referee) Jack (Smith) a few times on telly and I think he’s been a disgrace a few times this year.

“Clearly Chris Kendall and Liam Moore are the best two refs – they get all the cup finals. But we don’t get them too much – we must be deemed ‘poor-quality games’.

“I’m usually quite measured but the gloves are off for me. In the last few games we have been on the wrong side of things.

“I always worry about what we can do as a team but I thought the players did everything we asked of them.

“The game was decided by the officiating. I don’t think I can be criticised for saying how it is.”

Paul Rowley: “I feel sorry for the players and fans.”

Rowley continued to label the level of officiating as ‘weak’ saying he felt sorry for players and supporters, also claiming that the game will lose fans eventually.

The Red Devils have now lost their last seven games in all competitions.

“You can’t really talk to officials – you’re not really allowed to,” Rowley said. “Off the record they tell you it’s a mess and games are being decided by officiating.

“I feel sorry for the players and fans.

“I’ll say my piece – I think I’m a fair man. I’m normally pretty cool about how I deliver my messages. (The standard of officiating) is weak, incompetent – it’s unacceptable. I think we’re probably going to lose fans.

“Pay refs what they’re worth to get more people excited about doing it and recruited.”

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