SAINTS chairman Eamonn McManus has used his notes in Friday's programme to launch a blistering attack on last week's officiating at the Challenge Cup Final.

He criticised the decision of the ref Robert Hicks not to go to the video ref, but also brought up whether the officials should be on Twitter.

And he highlighted the brokering of a meeting by Warrington CEO Karl Fitpatrick between Hicks and the Warrington supporter who had issued him with a death threat on Twitter.

McManus described it as a "stunt" in his programme address, questioning how this could be perceived before a cup final.

He said: "It would be remiss of me to be silent on the officiating both during and before the game.

"How a referee can be involved in a publicity stunt with the CEO of a participating club in the week before a Challenge Cup Final defies belief and reason.

"This apparently resulted from some pathetic spat on the open sewer that is Twitter some weeks before.

"The fact referees go, and are allowed to go, on Twitter with fans is utterly beyond me: no good can come from it and clearly no good does."

On the game itself, the Saints chairman said it was incomprehensible that Hicks did not go to the video for Morgan Knowles' "clear and legitimate opening try" and then "followed it up shortly with other highly questionable decisions".

He suggested the sequence of events had left the sport looking foolish.

He said: "I am not blaming the individual referee, however I am pointing out that no other sport would have allowed such a farcical and amateurish combination of self-fulfilling events to occur."

McManus also used his column to discuss the players' performance, with lessons needed to be learned if Saints are not to fall short in the other final.

"Although maximum effort was definitely there on the pitch there is equally no doubt that we did not play to anything like our capabilities.

"We have to reflect on this and learn rapidly from it if we are going to win the Grand Final, which we are more than capable of doing.

"Warrington did perform to their full and the record books rightfully belong to them on this occasion. We congratulate them as worthy winners," he said.

The RFL responded to McManus' programme notes by issuing a statement, stating the matter has been passed on to the game's compliance team for possible further action.

It read: "The Rugby Football League is saddened by the content of the club chairman's matchday programme column of Friday 30 August and the matter has been referred to the RFL's Compliance Team.

"Several inaccuracies were contained in the piece, including concerning the timeline of the death threat to an official's family and subsequent work with the police.

"It is a serious misreading of the situation to refer to a request by ITV for a brief news interview (concerning the threat made a month earlier) as some form of contrived stunt.

"Match officials are at the centre of our sport, at all levels. Everyone in the sport appreciates that they are vital. Our match officials are hardworking, impartial, and deserving of respect and support. Theirs is a difficult job and without them there is no sport.

"The Match Officials department works with and meets all clubs maturely, professionally and without fear or favour.

"It does this to increase understanding of the role including the system of independent review, professional training and development; consultation on rules, regulations and procedures; to promote the sport-wide 'Enjoy the Game' campaign at all levels and encourage pro-clubs to set an example for the rest of the sport; and to encourage and support referee recruitment and retention, and the mental and physical wellbeing of match officials alongside that of players and coaches."