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Blaming refs for results unfair: O'Donovan

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016 Emma Kemp

Central Coast striker Roy O'Donovan has leapt to the defence of the A-League's maligned referees, arguing it's unfair to blame them for unwanted results.

The discussion around officiating standards has gone into overdrive following a controversial round seven featuring contentious incidents in all four fixtures.

Mariners coach Paul Okon was outspoken on Sunday over what he believed was a Newcastle handball not called by referee Jonathan Barreiro in his side's 1-1 derby draw with the Jets.

He also claimed he was told to "shut up" by the fourth official when pointing out the perceived error.

But one of Okon's key players, O'Donovan has taken a softer approach, referencing the inevitable role human error plays on the pitch.

The 31-year-old Irishman, who has spent most of his career in the UK and a small stint in Asia, feels referees are performing admirably within that context.

"They've got a difficult job, they're under pressure," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"It's an environment where they're the ones likely going to be in trouble every week for one decision, one mistake.

"It's unfair to blame them for teams not getting results in football games and I'm not going to start blaming them for everything that goes wrong with the Mariners or the A-League.

"It's human error and you're going to have it as long as you have officials in the game.

"And that's part of the joy of football, really, that you have these talking points.

"I think they're doing a good job, they're doing things to the best of their ability."

Football Federation Australia (FFA) hope to soon removed the human element by introducing video replays on the eve of the finals series.

While largely welcomed, there are questions over how fair their application will be and whether they may cause constant interruption.

"I don't think it's going to break up play too much," O'Donovan said.

"It's trial and error - we won't know if it's going to work until it actually becomes a thing in the A-League."

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