Rugby league legend Billy Slater says video referee Henry Perenara has been made a scapegoat amidst the fallout from Latrell Mitchell's hit on Joey Manu.
Perenara, a former player and referee, was in the Bunker on Friday night, and came under heavy criticism from Roosters coach Trent Robinson after the match.
Robinson, like many, felt that Mitchell should have been sent off for the shot on Manu, rather than sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes.
Speaking immediately after the match, Robinson lashed Perenara for not intervening sooner.
"Perenara, who's supposed to know some footy, sitting up in the box – and then doesn't do anything about it," he said.
"For maybe 30, 40, 50 seconds, doesn't do a thing about it. Joey Manu does something about it.
"They didn't know what they were doing. How do you send that for 10 in the bin?"
Robinson was subsequently fined $20,000 for the outburst, which also activated a $10,000 suspended fine from earlier in the season.
Speaking on 2GB's Wide World of Sports Radio, Slater defended the decision not to send Mitchell from the field.
"Trent Robinson is running high on adrenaline and emotion [in the press conference], that's right after the game [and] Joey Manu's just been taken to hospital," he said.
"He's got some points, but I think individually pointing out Henry Perenara in this situation [is not right]. Henry lost his position in the next game due to that and that's where the game is.
"The game has gone from sending people off to just giving them ten [minutes] in the bin."
Slater noted that had Mitchell been given his marching orders, that decision would have been controversial in its own way.
"If Henry Perenara had sent [Latrell Mitchell] off, people would've been jumping up and down and saying, 'Well, that hasn't happened for a while, why did he do that?'" Slater explained.
"I can understand Trent's frustration, but the penalty certainly is there. I knew when I listened to that press conference that he was in a bit of strife, he was speaking his mind and unfortunately you can't go at the referees like that, an individual referee in particular.
"The other thing you've got to think about is, Henry may have made a mistake to not send him off, but if we sat everyone out when they've made a mistake - a player, a coach - we're not sacking players and coaches, we're not putting them aside for one mistake.
"Henry Perenara is certainly a scapegoat in all of this."
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