The Warriors have received an official slap in the face from the NRL with under-fire referee Gerard Sutton "demoted" to their vital clash against the Titans.

Warriors conspiracy theorists long suspicious of how the Aussies view the club were gifted evidence when Sunday's match was deemed fit for a referee who has effectively been yellow carded.

Please ref Gerard Sutton has been sent to Robina. Photo / Phosport
Please ref Gerard Sutton has been sent to Robina. Photo / Phosport

The club's increasingly controversial social media team has already posted a cheeky tweet on the matter, having earlier cast aspersions on the way Melbourne great Cameron Smith is refereed following defeat against the Storm in Auckland.

The Warriors are reaching must-win situations to stay in the top eight following the Wests Tigers upset victory over South Sydney, which closed the buffer to four points. The club is in a do-or-die battle to make their first playoffs in seven seasons.


But their next match has been given official "lower-profile" status, the description used in a story on the NRL site.

The NRL's top referee Gerard Sutton, who controlled this year's State of Origin series, was "spared the axe" following blunders in Canberra's defeat to Cronulla.

But Sutton has been posted to the Robena for Sunday's clash as punishment for the mistakes. Senior review official Luke Patten was similarly "demoted" while two other officials were dropped.

The Warriors retweeted veteran Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield's comment that Sutton was "relegated" to the Titans v Warriors match. In a Telegraph story, Rothfield reckoned Sutton had received a"slight demotion".

The NRL's head of football Brian Canavan said: "Gerard Sutton is one of our best referees and it makes sense to keep using him in the top grade...overall his form has been strong this season."

Ashley Klein will handle the high profile clash between the Roosters and Dragons. Matt Cecchin, which a newspaper poll has declared the overwhelming fans' favourite, will be in charge when the Tigers play the Bulldogs.

NRL360 host Paul Kent tore strips off the decision, suggesting it only dug the NRL a deeper hole of shame amid a season of frustrating refereeing controversies.

"He's done nothing, it's embarrassing," Kent said on Tuesday night. "This just continues to embarrass the game."

Kent suggested keeping Sutton on for the upcoming weekend after failing to correctly officiate the Sharks-Raiders clash could spell disaster for New Zealand.

"Poor old Warriors, they're in eighth spot. Their game is crucial, this is what the NRL thinks of them. 'We'll take you guys off the main game and give you the Warriors game'," Kent continued.

The Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Crawley jumped in and claimed the league was intentionally shutting its ears to the media.

"It's almost like the NRL looked at the paper this morning, listened to what everyone was saying, which was 'if you're going to drop the touch judge, you had to drop Sutton too'," he said.

"It's almost like the NRL said 'stuff you, we're not going to listen to you, we'll do it our way."

Kent labelled the decision "pig-headed arrogance".

"Sutton puts the whistle to his mouth (and) now the NRL claims he didn't see the linesman," he said.

"Under NRL rules, the moment a linesman's flag goes up, the play has to stop. Sutton then has a rethink, blows his whistle and he calls it a knock-on. The video referee, Henry Perenara, checks for a knock-on and doesn't see one so he awards the try.

"They have deliberately misled us here, they've given no explanation for why Gerard Sutton put the whistle to his mouth, then pulled it down and then blew it again."

Kent eventually sent his rant in Greenberg's direction, blasting the under-fire CEO's leadership after he defended the controversial Bunker in a press conference on Tuesday.

"Todd came out talking tough, saying, 'we're going to make people accountable, we're about accountability in this game'. Well, you're not really, are you?" Kent raved.

"I think Todd should be accountable, The commission should bring in Todd and say, 'mate, what's going on?'

"Todd's management of the game — I won't call it leadership — is currently embarrassing it to a high degree. There is no other sport in Australia, and I daresay anywhere in the world, that has to put up with the "Benny Hill" shenanigans that we put up with here."

Greenberg said the Bunker, despite its ongoing criticism from fans and journalists alike, wouldn't be going anywhere.

"It's certainly not time to blow up the bunker," Greenberg told Channel 9.

"Technology is here. Technology is now in every sport. The challenge we have is the human element running the technology."

Greenberg said officials for this weekend had to be picked for this weekend with those poor performances in mind.

"Frustrated sometimes, really frustrated," Greenberg said of his emotions. "We've got to be getting those decisions right. They impact games, they impact livelihoods and we've got to get better."

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