23 Jul 2008

Badger dumped for wrong send off

7:08 am on 23 July 2008

The referee who sent off St George Illawarra's Jason Ryles has been demoted by the National Rugby League, but that's of little consolation to the defeated Dragons.

Ryles was marched by Gavin Badger in the 25th minute of last night's 26-nil loss to Melbourne at Olympic Park for kicking Jeff Lima in the scrum.

Badger had no hesitation in immediately pointing Ryles to an early shower, but referees' boss Robert Finch says it was the wrong decision and banished the five-year experienced whistleblower to the lower grades.

Finch says Badger is a young referee and it is all part of the learning curve for him.

The incident came just two minutes after an early brawl where three players were sin-binned.

Melbourne's Billy Slater faces a two-week ban and Dragons forward Beau Scott one week for their contrary conduct in the brawl, but the match review committee did not cite Ryles.

Slater's suspension is good news for the Warriors, who must continue their winning streak against last year's Premiers on Saturday in Auckland if they're to keep their NRL finals hopes alive.