Sports

Referee Kasey Badger sends off player for ‘homosexual slur’

A NSW Intrust Super Premiership player has been charged with contrary conduct after being sent off for dissent that was described by referee Kasey Badger at the time as a "homosexual slur".

Wests prop Cowen Epere has been hit with a grade-one contrary conduct charge by the NSWRL after becoming the first player to be sent off in the competition this year.

In charge: Kasey Badger referees at Panthers Stadium on Sunday.

Photo: NRL Photos

He was given his marching orders after a slanging match with a Penrith opponent.

Badger tried to intervene in the dispute with promising Panthers half Adam Keighran during the second stanza of the match at Panthers Stadium on Sunday, but then took the unusual action of dismissing a player when the verbal barbs continued.

On-field audio was heard to capture the Wests player labelling Keighran a "f—ing pussy" while Badger reported to the NSWRL that he had also used the term "f—ing faggot".

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The referee told Epere, who previously was a lower-grader at the Panthers, that it was a "homosexual slur" and took the unusual step of sending him from the field for dissent towards a rival.

Epere trudged up the tunnel and didn't take part in the final 10 minutes of the match.

He entered an early guilty plea to the charge on Tuesday and won't be suspended.

Wests Magpies general manager of football operations Leo Epifania could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Badger has been on the periphery of making her NRL debut for several years and has been the subject of calls to be elevated to the top grade to become the first female to control a match at the highest level in Australia.

Belinda Sleeman has also impressed handling lower grade matches and is considered a future NRL referee, but both her and Badger have asked for their ascension to be on merit and not a token appointment.

Badger's husband Gavin is one of the most respected referees in the game and one of just seven referees to officiate in more than 300 NRL matches, a club which was joined by Matt Cecchin shortly after Kasey refereed the Intrust Super Premiership match at the foot of the mountains.

The Panthers ran out commanding 38-10 winners over Wests, sewing up the Intrust Super Premiership minor premiership in the process, as Keighran scored a try and booted five goals.

The NRL is preparing to celebrate its Women In League Round this weekend, which honours the contribution of all females in the game.

Meanwhile, Panthers winger Josh Mansour has revealed how his initial reaction to copping another accidental hit to his face sparked fears of further structural damage in the gripping win over the Raiders.

A bloodied Mansour was helped from the field and had stitches inserted above his right eye after collecting an accidental elbow from Canberra winger Jordan Rapana, bringing back memories of his sickening collision with Anthony Don earlier this year which required delicate facial surgery.

Doctors told him he could have lost sight from one eye.

Asked about the Rapana collision, Mansour said: "It was a bit strange. I was on the ground and when I went to get up blood was just gushing down my face. I knew it was pretty bad.

"The trainer ran over, saw me and said, 'nah, you're coming off'. I was like, 'really?' I wanted to stay on, but the gash was too big. I didn't count how many stitches.

"I was a bit nervous and the first thing I asked the doctor was, 'structurally, [is it OK]?' That was all sweet. It was just a nasty gash. I'm pretty confident now, I'm not going to lie."

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