Drawing a line under a very toxic derby row

Saints coach Nathan Brown
Saints coach Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown has drawn a firm line under the toxic row with Wigan counterpart Shaun Wane which saw both men hit with an RFL fine.

Straight-talking Brown lambasted the Warriors gaffer for “whinging” to referees before launching a scathing critique of the match officials’ performance during Saints’ 16-12 win at the DW Stadium.

He was later slapped with £1,000 fine and yesterday declined to answer questions about the row at the club’s weekly press conference yesterday.

Speaking immediately after the game, Brown described the officiating as “horrible” and lambasted referee Phil Bentham for an “absolutely shocking performance”.

He has since moved to clarify his comments by saying that he would be happy for Bentham to referee Saints again in the future.

Brown said: “I spoke to Steve Ganson (referees’ coach) before the game because we needed the referee to be strong. My concern was the referee faltering a little bit - not deliberately - just through pressure, and I felt that’s what may have happened.

“He didn’t give us anything - not deliberately, it just happened. Coaches have bad days, players have bad days, referees have bad days. I don’t think Phil had his best day. But do I still think he’s a good referee and would I like him to referee us again - 100 per cent.”

Wane was furious with the decision to rule out a try for Warriors winger Joe Burgess and was heard afterwards making derogatory comments about video ref Ben Thaler.

The rival coaches were then reported to the Rugby Football League, and were both found guilty of misconduct.

Both coaches were deemed to be in breach of two rules - “engaging in conduct which is prejudicial to the interest of the game” and “criticising the character of a match official or criticising the manner in which a match official had officiated at a game in which the club had taken part”.

Half of Brown’s fine is suspended to the end of next season, while Wane was issued with a £500 fine, with half also suspended. Both were also warned about their future behaviour. Wane has 14 days to lodge an appeal.

Brown, fined £500 for a similar offence in April last year, has accepted his latest punishment while Wane has 14 days to lodge an appeal with an operational rules tribunal.