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Payten calls out big team bias by referees

North Queensland coach Todd Payten believes referees are favouring the NRL’s big teams after three of his players were sent to the sin bin in their 28-4 loss to the Sydney Roosters.

The Cowboys lost middle forward Tom Gilbert to a standard tackle without the ball in the 21st minute and they were punished as the Roosters ran in two quick tries on Saturday night.

Payten then labelled second-half binnings to Griffin Neame and Chad Townsend as soft, and echoed comments made by Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook after their narrow loss to Parramatta.

Holbrook had been left furious, claiming his side don’t get the rub of the green from referees because they’re aren’t one of the game’s big clubs.

Payten agreed.

“There were some calls tonight, 50-50 calls that went against us,” Payten told AAP.

“Titans’ head coach a couple of weeks ago made a comment, and I agree with him.

“Teams that have been up the pointy end of the competition for a while now, or have high-profile players get the benefit of the doubt too often, and that’s frustrating.

“That’s my opinion over watching footy for a long time.”

The Cowboys were penalised 10 times by referee Gerard Sutton to the Roosters’ eight, with two ruck infringements and two players on report to their opponents’ zero.

Club co-captain Jason Taumalolo backed his coach on Saturday night, but said it wasn’t his job to worry about officiating.

Neame was penalised by referee Sutton after he was judged to have collected five-eighth Sam Walker with a late shot, while Townsend clipped Lindsay Collins’ head in a tackle that sent him marching.

“Really disappointed around Griffin’s sin-binning,” Payten said.

“I know what they’re trying to do as a game, we’re trying to protect the halves.

“But Griffin was in no position to pull out of that, because he’s gone deep in the line. I thought he (Walker) ducked.

“They’ve got that wrong.”

“Chad, that’s a pretty soft sin-binning.”

The incidents meant the Cowboys played almost 50 of their 80 minutes down a player, struggling to contain a clinical and overpowering Roosters side that ran away with the win.

Saturday’s result brings both the Cowboys and the Roosters to 2-2 for the season, with the Warriors up next for Payten’s side and the Roosters facing Brisbane.

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