I am not Ivan Cleary's greatest fan.....but I actually support him in what he said about that game being managed.... I am not a conspiratorist and don't believe necessarily that there was a conspiracy BUT watching that game on saturday night between Penrith and the Raiders had some very strange things in it, apart from Penrith's game dominance.
Now we all like to have a beef at the referee and as long as I have been watching Rugby league, I have always thought it was on the up and up. Most refereeing errors reflect more on the competence of the ref rather than the honesty of same.
Going back I can think of some diabolical referring judgements that made me convinced that all was not right.....in modern times not at all...... in saying that I can think of Jack Page (ref) and Perc Galea's Eastern Suburbs in the 60's where I was standing behind a field goal at cumberland oval.....Page put his hand up and I guarantee the kick missed by another set of posts. No TV from all angles in those days. Easts won by two points!
The other one was Gary Cook refereeing the 77 grand final replay St George vs Parra..... Penfolds was Saints sponsor....Cook worked for Penfolds. We lost that game because Rod Reddy belted the shit out of Ray Price.....Harry Bath (St George coach) knew what would beat Parra.... yes this is the game that cost us Ray Higgs as well because Fearnley would not let Higgs retaliate at half time. Reddy should of been sent off on three seperate occasions and he played with a licence to kill!.....Parra old timers that saw that grand final will wince at just the thought of that story.
Now back to Ivan Cleary.....and interesting choice of words, "managed" certainly upset Vlandy's but pretty naive of Vlandy's just the same.....some one else could have said "cheated" or a series of horrible mistakes..... "managed" what does that mean. Gambling the way it is on games could have been directed towards winning margins or in turn the ref was so thin skinned with regard to Penrith making a couple of calls that made him stupid he took a vendetta against them.....I'm inclined to think that this was more likely and he wouldn't be the first ref to think he has to even some things up.
I suspect Cleary will apologise for the use of the word "managed" and its implications, but I am pretty certain that kids watching that interview would not be influenced with their thoughts on referreing, but now the attention has been brought to it, a number of investigations will start......Refs need to be told that they do make mistakes and the best decisions you ever make as a ref is not to make one unless you are 100% certain.....too many 50/50 calls are just that....play on!