State of Origin 2022: NSW Blues officials sought clarity from NRL on a number of crucial game one calls

Tea Herald revealed Fittler sought a meeting with Maxwell before game one about the tactics of some of Queensland’s best players, and he suggested Grant Atkins has been “doing a good job” in the NRL.

Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher argued there needed to be independence in the process of appointing match officials despite the Blues’ protests about the officiating, and argued there were always going to be debatable calls.

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler.Credit:Getty

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “For all of us who grew up on having a game refereed with a bad decision here and there, the good decisions outweigh the bad. Part of playing sport is teaching you nothing’s perfect. They’re human beings and they will make mistakes.

“There has to be as much independence in the appointment of referees as possible, and the major criteria should be competence. And I think if you have one side saying we want referee B because referee B will interpret the rules more to our liking, then I think we’ve got problems.”

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Fittler has also put the onus back on his team to provide more protection for Cleary after a number of middle forwards failed to provide adequate protection as a “blocker” next to the ruck on last-tackle plays at Accor Stadium.

The issue of “blockers” created a firestorm during last year’s finals series when former South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett accused Cleary’s Panthers of using an illegal play to safeguard their star man.

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