North Queensland coach Todd Payten has backed claims that lower-profile teams are not getting the rub of the green from referees on 50-50 calls.
The Cowboys had three players sent to the sin bin during their 28-4 loss to the Roosters in Townsville.
Tom Gilbert, Griffin Neame and Chad Townsend all spent time in the bin, meaning the Cowboys had three separate periods with only 12 men on the field.
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While Payten conceded the Cowboys were their own worst enemy – calling them “dumb” – he also took aim at the refereeing.
“There were some calls tonight, 50-50 calls that went against us, and the Titans coach (Justin Holbrook) a couple of weeks ago made a comment, and I agree with him, teams that have been up the pointy end of the competition for a while, or have high-profile players, get the benefit of the doubt too often.
“That’s frustrating. That’s my opinion over watching footy over a long time.”
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Asked what he thought of the three players who were sin-binned, Payten said only one of the three deserved to go.
Gilbert was binned for a professional foul after he pulled Luke Keary out of a kick chase, while Neame went for a late shot, and Townsend was penalised for a high tackle.
“It’s hard to argue with Tommy Gilbert’s,” Payten admitted.
“Really disappointed around Griffin’s sin-binning, I know what they’re trying to do, as a game we’re trying to protect the halves, but they’re trying to stamp that out from when halfbacks take it in the line and they’re not looking with their backs turned.
Griffin Neame (right) is sent to the sin bin during North Queensland’s loss to the Roosters. (Getty)
“I know Griff was in no position to pull out of that. They’ve got that wrong.
“Chad, that’s a pretty soft sin-binning.”
The Roosters have joined the logjam of teams on two wins, which also includes the Cowboys.
Payten was left to lament the loss, although he conceded the margin could have been greater.
“To play 30 minutes with 12 men and only concede the points we did, I’m rapt with the effort,” he admitted.
“In saying that, we were pretty dumb at certain times.”
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