Rugby League Expert & Columnist
Referee James Child should not pay price for 'disgraceful' Catalans-Warrington brawl
Phil Clarke believe points deductions would send a message to Super League clubs
Last Updated: 07/08/19 5:56pm
The Rugby Football League and Super League have handled the demotion of referee James Child following the brawl between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves 'disgracefully', according to Phil Clarke.
Five Catalans Dragons players have been suspended in the initial fall-out from Saturday's controversial Super League clash against Warrington in Perpignan.
The French club won the top-five fixture 30-10 but the game was marred by an all-out brawl on the pitch and a major crowd disturbance off it.
Referee Child brandished two red cards and four yellows throughout the 80 minutes and attempted to calm tempers as fighting broke out in one of the stands.
The match official was harshly criticised by both coaches following the ugly contest - and after running the line at the Super League clash between Wigan and Hull KR on Friday, Child will take charge of Widnes' Championship game with Toulouse on Saturday.
Clarke said: "I'm disappointing in the Rugby Football League and the Super League. This week, the only real thing that has come out of that game is that the referee from the match was dropped.
"He's now going to referee a game in the division below, which I think is disgraceful. Both clubs really should be investigated for not being able to control their players on the pitch.
"If you look back at football 20 or so years ago, Arsenal and Manchester United played in a game and there were ugly scenes in that.
"The league needed to be strong enough to deduct points off both of those sides - Warrington and Catalans need to be sent a message, which would then cascade to every team in Super League.
"Unless you control your players, and they respect the referee on the field, there will be serious consequences.
"The referee did his best, but it was clear to me that the players didn't really want a referee and weren't prepared to listen to him - and it was a very bad look for the sport."
The Rugby Football League has handed the crowd misconduct case to a compliance investigator and, in the meantime, its match-review panel has handed out punishment to players involved in foul play during and at the end of the game.
Catalans' England full-back Sam Tomkins, one of the players to be sent off, has received the heaviest punishment, a three-match penalty notice for punching Warrington winger Jake Mamo during the brawl.
Second rower Kenny Edwards, who appeared to make gestures to fans at the height of the crowd trouble, was given a grade C charge of "other contrary behaviour" which normally carries a ban of two to three matches.
'Smith's experience can steady Wolves ship'
Clarke is looking forward to events on the field this weekend, with leaders St Helens renewing their battle with second-placed Warrington in their third clash of the regular season on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.
Saints have already beaten the Wolves twice this term, but Steve Price will hope his side can land a psychological blow ahead of a potential Grand Final meeting later this year.
Price welcomes former Saint Matty Smith into his squad for the first time since the former England scrum-half joined on loan from Catalans Dragons - and Clarke believes it is a shrewd move.
"It's a bit of a shock for most people," Clarke added. "He's played 16 of the 24 games for Catalans this year, but he's been released in sensational terms, just before the transfer deadline in rugby league.
"I think his experience is important. Warrington have lost a star player with Blake Austin getting injured, they've played the entire season without one of their other key playmakers - Kevin Brown - so Smith has an experienced voice.
"He's won a Grand Final, he's 32, and they feel that he might be important to steady the ship."