Dragons coach Paul McGregor at a post-game media conference.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor at a post-game media conference. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Dragons coach cops $10,000 fine for ref rant

DRAGONS coach Paul McGregor has copped a $10,000 fine for declaring NRL officials "embarrassing and incompetent" in his side's surprise loss to last-placed Newcastle last weekend.

McGregor is the first coach to be issued with a breach in 2017 after tearing stripes off head referee Gavin Badger and senior bunker official Ashley Klein following the 21-14 defeat that places St George Illawarra's finals run in jeopardy.

Referees boss Tony Archer has since defended the two tries denied to the Dragons that McGregor took particular issue with in his post-match press conference, insisting the bunker made the correct no-try calls against Jason Nightingale and Nene MacDonald.

McGregor's spray came one week after a similar press conference blow up from Canberra's Ricky Stuart, however it is believed the Raiders mentor escaped censor from head office on the basis that his comments did not specifically question the officials' integrity.

"In simple terms, the rule is that coaches, players and officials should not discuss referees and their performances in the public domain," NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said via a statement.

"We have been pragmatic in dealing with instances where comments have been made but the competence and integrity of referees has not been questioned.

"But it is our view that these particular comments crossed the line."

"All coaches should be aware that they risk sanctions if they discuss the performance of referees."

McGregor and the Dragons have five business days to respond to the breach notice, with the club releasing a short statement that did not indicate whether it would appeal the fine.

News Corp Australia

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