Ashley Klein relieved of NRL refereeing duties
Referee Ashley Klein has been relieved of his NRL whistleblowing duties in the wake of Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy's scathing assessment of his handling of the Storm's 32-30 loss to Newcastle.
Bellamy was irate over several incidents in Saturday's upset loss to the Knights and claimed post-match that Klein held a bias against his side.
"Ashley Klein obviously doesn't like the way we play our footy," Bellamy said.
"We've had that many times when we've had him this year and the penalty count, it hasn't even been close.
"Every time we have Ashley, we always seem to be on the wrong side of the penalty count and a fair way on the wrong side."
Bellamy escaped censure from the game's governing body for his acerbic comments but not so Klein for his performance after he was left off the list of match officials for round 23 released by the NRL on Tuesday.
An NRL spokesman said that Klein's sacking was the result of a series of poor performances, not just his efforts in the Newcastle-Melbourne match at Hunter Stadium.
"It has come not just as a result of his performance in the Melbourne match, but judged over a period of the last three weeks," the spokesman said.
It is not the first time Klein has courted controversy. In 2008, he earned the ire of Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart following his refereeing performance in the shock World Cup win by the Kiwis.