McCrone forced to plead guilty despite an incident not occurring

Due to the rules of the NRL judiciary, Raiders five-eighth Josh McCrone has been forced to plead guilty to pushing a referee, despite it being an act that he says, he did not commit.

For McCrone, despite his being adamant that he did not push referee Steve Lyons, he was forced to write a letter to the NRL, and plead guilty in that letter, only so he could avoid a contrary conduct charge.

“I wish to go on record that although I pleaded guilty it was my intention to vigorously defend the charge,” McCrone wrote.

“Unfortunately, because of the way the judiciary system is structured, I faced a harsher penalty had I pleaded not guilty and failed.

“In the interim my teammates and my club would have been disadvantaged by that outcome so I took the early plea and copped the loading.”

With the Raiders going through a horrible form slump, as well as missing regular five-eighth Terry Campese, the Raiders told McCrone to plead guilty, so that he could play in the games.

He had been charged with a contrary conduct charge, after making accidental contact with referee Steve Lyons in Rd 6 against the Cowboys.

“It was a hard decision to plead guilty because pushing a referee is a terrible thing to do,” McCrone said.

“I bumped into him accidentally.

“I found I was looking sideways in defence throughout the game on Sunday in case it was going to happen again. I’ve always treated referees with respect.”

In his letter sent to the judiciary, McCrone was embarrassed at being charged for the incident – a copy was also sent to NRL Chief Executive, David Gallop.

“The purpose of my letter to you is not to debate the system and how it works but to simply declare that at no stage did I intentionally push the referee,” he wrote.

“The video clearly shows he got between me and the opposing player and contact took place.

“To be honest, I was quite embarrassed when charged.

“The situation was unavoidable and these things happen from time to time of the footy field. Unfortunately, my record will show that I deliberately pushed a referee.”

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