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EXCLUSIVE | The fiery meeting that saw top NRL referee blackballed

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Ray Hadley reveals the real reason behind top referee Matt Cecchin’s axing from this year’s State of Origin series.

The rugby league world has been scratching its head over Cecchin’s fall from grace this season.

He was in charge of last year’s Origin series, the 2017 NRL Grand Final and one of the two 2017 Rugby League World Cup semi-finals.

But this year he won’t be anywhere near the MCG when New South Wales takes on Queensland next week and has even been relegated to serving as an assistant referee.

Instead, Ashley Klein got the call up from referees boss Bernard Sutton for the first time since 2013.

Klein is the same referee whose Rouns 3 howler handed Brisbane Golden Point victory over the Wests Tigers.

Ray Hadley can now reveal the real reason behind Matt Cecchin’s is a backroom stoush during Round 4.

An NRL source claims Cecchin was called to a meeting with refs boss Bernard Suttton and coach Russell Smith and accused him of leaking to the media.

The 44-year-old vehemently denied the allegations and took great offence.

When Sutton and Smith continued to attack his integrity, Cecchin stormed out of the meeting and the rest is history.

Ray Hadley has called for NRL CEO Todd Greenberg to “intervene immediately”.

“Bernard Sutton needs to be held to account. Cecchin knows if he goes to the media, which he hasn’t done, he’ll be sacrificed. That’ll be the end of his refereeing career.”

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