NEWCASTLE, NSW - Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson risked copping a $10,000 fine after he accused referees Gavin Badger and Grant Atkins of targeting prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in Friday night's loss to Newcastle.
The reigning premiers went down 16-12 in a game marred by several controversial refereeing decisions at Hunter Stadium.
Waerea-Hargreaves was given 10 minutes in the sin bin after man of the match Tyrone Roberts scored to bring the Knights level 6-6 in the 60th minute at Hunt.
Robinson said the Kiwi prop was binned for saying "it's an effing forward pass".
With the Roosters down to 12 men, Roberts crossed again three minutes later to put the Knights ahead.
Robinson believed the decision to bin Waerea-Hargreaves set a dangerous precedent and that referees "were looking for Jared there right from the start".
He also criticised the video referee's decision to overturn an on-ground call of try for James Maloney in the 15th minute and the confusion over a Willie Mason run in the lead-up to Roberts's second try.
"As soon as Jared gets sent for 10, you could just feel the refs were looking for stuff from us to award penalties," he said.
"And even on the last one when they ran, (Willie) Mason hits the deck, (the referee) calls 'play the ball'. He gets up and runs, the ref goes quiet and allows him to play on.
"You could just feel that they were scrutinising, they were looking for Jared there right from the start.
"You're not allowed to swear at the ref but if you say it's an 'effing forward pass' ... if that's sin-binnable then we'll see it every week."
The Tricolours mentor also believed the Roosters were wrongly denied the chance for a repeat set when Knights debutant Sione Mata'utia appeared to run the ball dead.
"The ball bounces up and he takes it before it bounces (over) ... he has to let it bounce before he picks it up," he said.
"The refs know this, this is a simple rule. Everybody should have seen that. If it touched the line then I'm wrong, but if that bounced in and that didn't touch the ground outside and he picked it up and ran back to the 20m (line), that's a line-dropout."
Robinson doesn't expect an explanation from the NRL over the refereeing performance.
"There's been no explanations all year, there's been nothing all year. Nothing will change," he said.