GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 28: Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler walks to a press conference following the round seven NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks at Central Coast Stadium on June 28, 2020 in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has, once again, leapt to the defence of on-field officiators, this time stressing a message of respect towards Manly head coach Des Hasler and Sea Eagles prop Josh Aloiai.

Following the northern beaches side's slim 22-20 loss to Parramatta on Friday night, Hasler fired from the hip claiming that his side had been lashed with the wrong end of the stick from the adjudicators.

With Hasler forced to contend against the fast-finishing Eels without the services of Sean Keppie after the prop was sent to the bin and Christian Tuipulotu's try-saving effort was penalised late in the piece, the enigmatic steward was ropable.

"It wasn’t high, no. It was a good tackle. It’s a brave tackle. They [those tackles] are called a try-saver,” Hasler said.

"The idea of the game is defence. The idea of the try-saver is to come up with big plays. It was a great play.

“There were a couple of stupid penalties we gave away, but I thought [there] were very dubious calls.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 22: New Manly Coach Des Hasler speaks to the media during a Manly Sea Eagles NRL press conference at Sydney Academy of Sport, Narrabeen on October 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

With Manly ending the outing on the wrong side of a 9-2 penalty count, Aloiai saw fit to throw his two-cent in on the officiating - a move that appears certain to cost the forward a few more bob.

"We were pretty hard done by for the most part, the ref done us no favours, particularly in the back end of the game,” Aloiai told a media throng on Tuesday.

"I think he done (sic) a bad job and we didn’t get the win so I’m pretty unhappy with him to be honest with you.

"I didn’t hear it and I don’t want to hear it because at the end of the day we lost the game and they can’t give us the game back so I’m not really happy about that.

“They can’t give us the two points so it’s frustrating.”

Though the pair's views are certain to be shared in and around the Broovale area and down the Manly Corso, Abdo claimed both Hasler and Aloiai were out of line, stating that Hasler may well cost himself a chunk of his salary.

“His comments are under review so I won’t talk specifically about his comments,” Abdo was quoted by News Corp.

The competition boss went on to explain that those involved with the game owed referees and fellow adjudicators more than they have recently been afforded.

2020 State of Origin Media Opportunity
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: NRL CEO Andrew Abdo speaks to the media during a State of Origin media opportunity at Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour on October 27, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“I’ll talk generally. It’s important for us all as a sport to strive to hit the standards of professionalism we want, on and off the field, and the way we behave," Abdo continued.

“Respect for match officials and referees is important, not just at the NRL level ... we all have a job to do to recognise, respect and acknowledge the difficult job the match officials do.

“They do a good job. They make mistakes from time to time, that’s normal, it’s a professional sport, there are a lot of 50/50 calls that could go either way.”

Abdo added that with lower-levels and juniors taking their cues from the behaviour of those involved in first-grade outcomes, it was on Hasler - an 18-year veteran within the coaching sphere - and his squad to set a better example for those down the totem.

“Everyone needs to take a bit of a breath and show respect for what is a very difficult job. I think we all need to move towards being more respectful and more professional generally," he said.

“They set the example for what happens across fields across Australia at a mass level.


“There will be decisions that go against you, I understand how much is at stake and the passion everyone has for winning. But I think everyone needs to accept there are things that we do say and can say, and there are things we don’t say.”

Despite both Hasler and Aloiai now just a day out from their all-important date with the Storm in Melbourne, the size of any impending financial sanctions is not yet known.