Newcastle Jets’ 2-1 loss to Melbourne City on Sunday saw Ernie Merrick’s team on the wrong end of a number of critical refereeing decisions.

In the aftermath of the game, Merrick spoke to the media and made his feelings towards the Football Federation Australia Director of Referees, Ben Wilson, very clear.

“I would say that I get on really well with majority of referees.

“I don’t get on with Ben Wilson at all.”

The decision to send off Ronald Vargas in the 26th minute was the most controversial and impactful refereeing decision of the game. It was Vargas’ second yellow and the FFA have since clarified that the booking was for dissent.

“I won’t make comments on what the FFA have said, I have my own opinions,” Merrick said.

The decision had an obvious impact on the game. Newcastle were down to ten men very early on in the contest, and despite a valiant effort they were unable to leave AAMI Park with any points.

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Ben Wilson’s comments following the game supported referee Kurt Ams who made a handful of controversial decisions throughout the game.

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There was a similar handball incident in Melbourne City’s box, but it was quickly waved away. No penalty, no booking. The two incidents were undeniably similar, some would say identical, yet the outcome of both penalty shouts were in stark contrast.

When asked to delve deeper into his thought the matter, Merrick was hesitant.

“I’m not going to go any further on it.

“I’m not getting fined this time.”

It’s fair to suggest that Merrick’s patience with the systems and processes of refereeing in the A-League is wearing notably thin. This is easy to understand historically, with the most obvious example being the VAR malfunction in last season’s grand final.

Merrick was very cautious and sometimes cryptic in his comments. He was reluctant to delve into a direct and specific criticism of Ams’ decisions during the game or Wilson’s comments following the match.

There was one message that Merrick wanted to make abundantly clear however, as he repeated this sentiment a number of times during his conversation with the media.

“Someone has said I got on well with him. I’m just correcting that – I don’t get on well with Ben Wilson.”

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Intern at The Football Sack covering The Newcastle Jets A-League and W-League home matches!