NRL ref Ben Cummins breaks down as he makes shock confession about 2019 grand final scandal

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Veteran NRL ref breaks down as he confesses he had ‘negative thoughts about my life’ after fans targeted him and his KIDS when he made one of footy’s most controversial calls in the grand final

  • Ben Cummins recalls ‘six again’ controversy that marred 2019 NRL Grand Final
  • Cummins’ kids were abused at school and on social media after his shocking call
  • The experienced referee locked himself away in his house for weeks 
  •  If you or anyone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636

Referee Ben Cummins has revealed the shocking toll on him and his family after he made one of the most controversial calls in NRL history in the 2019 grand final.

Cummins’ widely condemned ‘six again’ call in the Roosters’ win over Canberra overshadowed an otherwise great game of football – and he copped abuse from all sides, with footy legend Wally Lewis and Souths owner Russell Crowe joining the pile-on.

The veteran referee has now come clean on how bad the repercussions were, breaking down as he confessed that he had ‘negative thoughts’ about what he wanted to do with his life. 

Referee Ben Cummins reveals the fallout of the gaffe he made during the 2019 grand final

Referee Ben Cummins reveals the fallout of the gaffe he made during the 2019 grand final

Boyd Cordner of the Roosters remonstrates with Ben Cummins during the 2019 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney

Boyd Cordner of the Roosters remonstrates with Ben Cummins during the 2019 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney

His revelations come just a day after the rugby league world was rocked by the death of player and coach Paul Green, throwing the mental health of Australian men into the spotlight.

The abuse came thick and fast at Cummins after he was blamed for costing Canberra victory, with his family targeted by trolls.

‘I cant say it was easy for them. My son was copping a lot of abuse at school and my daughters [were] online – because they are on social media. That was really tough,’ said Cummins.

‘I basically locked myself in my house for a week. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. I had some thoughts about what I wanted to do with my life and they were pretty negative.

‘You feel ashamed and worthless, embarrassed. I wasn’t sleeping. I just wanted everything to go away.’

The controversial moment when Ben Cummins called 'six again' and then quickly changed his mind - resulting in a Roosters try soon after

The controversial moment when Ben Cummins called ‘six again’ and then quickly changed his mind – resulting in a Roosters try soon after

The refereeing howler from the 2019 final was every Canberra fan’s worst nightmare. 

Cummins had called ‘six again’ after a Raiders attacking kick came off one of their players, so five eighth Jack Wighton grabbed the ball and charged into the defensive line like it was the first tackle of the set.

As the tackle was made, Cummins reversed his call, meaning Canberra had to hand the ball over to the opposition as six tackles had been made. 

Suddenly attack turned into defence and James Tedesco scored a try to put the Roosters ahead 14-8. 

James Tedesco of the Roosters celebrates scoring a try soon after Ben Cummins' controversial call putting the Roosters ahead 14-8

James Tedesco of the Roosters celebrates scoring a try soon after Ben Cummins’ controversial call putting the Roosters ahead 14-8

‘I realised I stuffed up big time and I tried to correct the call – which would have been the right call,’ Cummmins said. 

‘But Jack Wighton didn’t see that and he got tackled and the Roosters get the ball and go down the length of the field in the next set and score. I realised then that this was big at 8-all in a grand final. 

‘It doesn’t get much bigger than this.’

The Roosters would go on to win back to back grand finals and the Canberra Raiders – who hadn’t been in a final for 25 years – were justifiably furious.

If you or anyone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636

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