NRL referee escapes punishment despite Panthers’ huge howler

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The NRL locked the middle man for the grand final, with the selected referee avoiding a major penalty for a recent blunder.

The NRL has appointed Gerard Sutton as referee for the 2021 Grand Final, the opportunity extending Sutton’s incredible streak for the game’s flagship event.

Sutton will take charge of his seventh grand final, and the 2021 edition will be the fifth time in a row that he has refereed the big game.

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The 42-year-old was named after he was at the center of a major refereeing blunder in the preliminary final between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm.

Panthers winger Brian To’o crossed for a try near the left corner post early in the second half, but when Nathan Cleary lined up to start the conversion he appeared to line up his attempt well on the way. inside the field and far from To ‘try.

However, Sutton escaped without any major penalty for the error and will officiate the grand final.

NRL football manager Graham Annesley believed Sutton’s appointment was the perfect reward for his exemplary work with the whistle throughout the 2021 season.

“Gerard has enormous experience in the biggest games of the last few years and deserves to officiate in the Grand Final,” said Annesley.

“This will be his seventh Grand Final – and his fifth in a row – which is a phenomenal achievement.

“Gerard has officiated all three Ampol State of Origin games this year – and now has 22 interstate games under his belt – and that kind of big game experience is invaluable.

“I also want to thank every match official who has sacrificed to move to Queensland this year to ensure the continuation of the Premiership.

“It has clearly been an unforgettable season, but it’s important to recognize that there wouldn’t have been a season without the match officials.”

The 42-year-old will be flanked by David Munro and Todd Smith as linesmen, while Grant Atkins will be in the bunker for the game.

Ashley Klein is listed as a reserve referee and Phil Henderson is also on deck as a reserve linesman.

Originally posted as 2021 NRL Grand Final referees as Gerard Sutton escapes punishment

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