NRL referee Ben Cummins becomes a laughing stock for losing his voice

Matches don’t come much worse than the Broncos’ ugly win over the Bulldogs but even as plenty of wisecracks came flooding in about the lack of quality on show at Suncorp Stadium, Ben Cummins still found himself the butt of jokes.

The referee had either swallowed a furball or lost his voice midway through the match as he struggled to tell the players what his decisions were.

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You could barely make out the crackling sounds emanating from Cummins as no amount of throat-clearing — caught on the on-field microphones — seemed to fix the problem early in the second half.

Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane certainly noticed it.

“No lozenges for Ben Cummins by the sound of it,” Ginnane said. “Oh please, don’t talk, Ben. It hurts us just hearing it.

“It’s painful to listen to … but I just want to stay quiet and listen to it for the rest of the game.

“Has a ref ever had to pull out of a game halfway through because he can’t speak?”

“He’s got no voice!

“Listen to him — how can you understand what he’s saying?”

Social media also had jokes, with some asking whether Darren Lockyer — with his famously raspy voice — was officiating.

James Smith wrote: “Ref has to be replaced surely.”

"Time off…seriously has anyone got a lozenge?"#NRL#NRLBroncosBulldogspic.twitter.com/4eeR6BF4oX

Kevin Walters celebrated his first win in charge of Brisbane as the home side sealed a 24-0 victory, but he still has plenty of work to do on the training paddock this week.

The reality is the Broncos were awful, but luckily for them, the Bulldogs were even worse as the match provided evidence these two teams will be in contention for this year’s wooden spoon.

Canterbury has now suffered three straight defeats, new coach Trent Barrett yet to taste victory in the blue and white since making the move from Penrith in the off-season.

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