Referees involved in furore

THREE young Wagga referees have become embroiled in a volatile junior rugby league crisis in Sydney.Group Nine referees Ben Whitby and Jake White were involved in games in the Parramatta junior league at the weekend which erupted in violence -and created a sensation on talkback radio yesterday.Whitby and White, who were part of a referee exchange program, each sent off players as warring Cabramatta and Wentworthville teams caused on-field mayhemWith relations between two clubs strained to breaking point, the game scheduled to be controlled by Wagga's Sam Went was abandoned before it started.The drama, which followed the assault of a Parramatta referee by a Cabramatta player a month ago, has plunged junior league in the Eels district into turmoil.It has also unwittingly thrown Whitby, White and Went into the Sydney sporting spotlight.2GB radio commentator Ray Hadley yesterday highlighted the involvement of Whitby and White in the furore as he lashed out over the issue, with Parramatta chief executive Paul Osborne calling for stern action.Back in Wagga yesterday, Whitby said the Sydney experience had been "unpleasant"."None of us were assaulted," Whitby said."I did send a player off and called the match off early, about 20 minutes early."I can't say much more as it is under investigation."Whitby, however. said White's game had ended in a brawl, with the Wagga referee dismissing four players in the aftermath."Sam Went was to do the last match of the night but it was abandoned," Whitby said."No, it wasn't pleasant, not pleasant at all."Whitby said the Wagga referees have lodged written reports on the games."We don't have to go back to Sydney," he said.