NRL boss Todd Greenberg has blasted Trent Barrett and Shane Flanagan over their comments blaming the referees for their sides’ being knocked out of the finals series.

“Unfortunately, we’ve developed a culture in our game of blaming match officials for a loss. It sets a terrible example for fans and a terrible example to grassroots and it’s got to stop. It’s time for the game to grow up,” Greenberg said at Rugby League Central on Monday.

“I’m not saying the referees are perfect; they never have been and they never will be. I’m not saying that our referees got every call right, but I have reviewed the games and I can tell you the vast majority of calls were spot on.

“The disputes we’re talking about are on some really tight calls – 50-50 calls – and there’ll be debate and controversy no matter which way they go; that is the game. But players make mistakes too and that’s what costs games and that’s why teams lose; it’s not the referees. That culture has to change. We have to grow up and take responsibility for our own outcomes.

“It’s disappointing that losing coaches think that it’s okay to take away from that wonderful weekend of footy and attack match officials. We expect a lot more from people in such influential positions.

“Our coaches have a responsibility to the game as well as a responsibility to their clubs and their actions and their comments must reflect that always. Emotion and passion and the heartbreak of your season ending is not an excuse. The game really does need to grow up.

“To suggest that a team won’t be playing finals this weekend is only due to refereeing errors is ridiculous and needs to be called out.

“I’m not prepared to stand around and allow match officials to be blamed as the only reason for a club’s loss.”

Both coaches can expect to be fined following their tirades, with Greenberg confirming breach notices would be handed to them both “in the next 24 hours”.

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