Watson accuses referee for ‘sending off wrong player’

Ian Watson says referee Scott Mikalauskas made a ‘huge error’ in sending off Salford’s James Greenwood instead of Dan Sarginson; Giants boss Watson says the loss of Sarginson would have helped his team more so, and the mistake was made despite lengthy sideline discussion.

Last Updated: 18/06/21 11:16pm

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson criticised referee Scott Mikalauskas for the 'huge error' of sending off the wrong player

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson criticised referee Scott Mikalauskas for the ‘huge error’ of sending off the wrong player

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson criticised referee Scott Mikalauskas for sending off the wrong player in his side’s 9-8 defeat by his old club Salford at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The Red Devils played most of the match with 12 men following the dismissal of second rower James Greenwood for a high tackle on Giants hooker Adam O’Brien but Watson insists the culprit was full-back Dan Sarginson, who would have been a bigger miss for the visitors.

Watson believes England international Sarginson, who was returning from a three-match ban, is facing another hefty suspension and believes the match officials are also at fault for an error he claimed proved to be a “big turning point” in the game.

“We told the fourth official and the other official who was wired up that he had got the wrong man,” Watson said. “We even tried to show him on the computer on the sideline.

“I had a discussion for about five minutes with him. All he had to do was tell the referee because he’ll be held responsible. It was a huge error.

“He sent the wrong guy off and left one of the best players on the field who shouldn’t have been on the field. It had a massive impact on the outcome of the game.

“I’d be surprised if he (Sarginson) doesn’t get a load of games banned but it doesn’t help us.”

Referee Mikalauskas appeared to send off Salford's James Greenwood instead of Dan Sarginson in a case of mistaken identity on Friday

Referee Mikalauskas appeared to send off Salford’s James Greenwood instead of Dan Sarginson in a case of mistaken identity on Friday

Salford coach Richard Marshall, who took over from Watson at the AJ Bell Stadium at the start of the season, said he did not have a clear enough view of the incident.

“I think James and Dan Sarginson were involved in the tackle but the view I had was too far out to notice,” he said.

Salford were leading 6-0 at the time, courtesy of hooker Andy Acker’s 11th-minute try and clinched their second Super League win of the season with a drop goal from half-back Chris Atkin 15 minutes from the end.

“For us to defend so well for 12 players was monumental,” Marshall said. “Obviously the win was important, as was the performance, but the over-riding feeling from the game was the team spirit.

“We lost our captain in the warm-up and played with 12 men for over half the game but we just repelled Huddersfield’s threats in last 10 minutes.

“I thought the drop goal was a bit early but the lads were confident they could defend and so it proved.

“A performance like that was always coming and it’s a massive confidence booster for our team.

“The resilience and determination was just fantastic, it typifies Salford, it’s why the club have been so successful in the last couple of years.

“It’s one performance, though, we’re not going to get carried away, there’s lots to do.”

Marshall said he left out stand-off Tui Lolohea after he became a father in the week and skipper Lee Mossop pulled out just before kick-off after feeling a pull in his lower calf during the warm-up.

The Giants, who had two tries disallowed, almost forced extra time as captain Aiden Sezer, a late addition to the side following a Covid-19 scare, attempted a drop goal 90 seconds from the end but saw his kick rebound off an upright to sum up a sorry fortnight for his side.

Huddersfield looked disjointed, perhaps not surprisingly in view of the impact of the pandemic which forced the postponement of last week’s game against Wigan and the closure of the club’s training ground for five days and they lost half-back Jack Cogger with a knee injury after eight minutes but Watson says he team should have still won the game.

“We had more than enough chances to win the game in the second half,” he said.

“Losing two of your spine players doesn’t help but we were not composed in the second half.

“I thought Salford defended really well and probably deserved it. They wanted it more than us in the last 10 minutes.”

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