Giants' Nathan Brown fined for remarks about referee

Huddersfield Giants coach Nathan Brown
Brown called for players to be better protected by referees

Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown has been fined for criticising referee Ben Thaler after the Giants' 38-6 win over Leeds in April.

The Australian had said he would encourage his players to take the law into their own hands if referees did not better protect key playmakers.

Thaler sent off Giants forward Luke O'Donnell and Leeds' Ryan Bailey for their part in a brawl.

Half of Brown's £1,000 fine has been suspended for six months.

Brown blamed officials for allowing the match to get "out of control".

Following his comments, the 37-year-old was charged with breaching the Rugby Football League's operational rules and the sport's respect policy.

Brown is the third Super League coach in two years to be fined for criticising match officials.

In May, Hull FC coach Richard Agar was fined a record £6,000, half of which was suspended, for comments he made about referee James Child following the 18-20 defeat by Castleford in April.

In April 2009, Hull KR coach Justin Morgan was handed a £4,000 fine, half of which was suspended, for criticising Thaler, saying the referee's performance in a match against Huddersfield was "sub-standard".

The news of Brown's punishment caps an unhappy weekend for Huddersfield, who were thumped 46-12 by Wigan on Saturday, their heaviest Super League defeat under their current coach.

The Giants are in third place in the Super League on 26 points, one point behind Wigan and two adrift of leaders Warrington.

Brown had been linked with a return to Australia to take the vacant coaching role at Penrith, but in May he signed a 12-month contract extension with Huddersfield for the 2012 season.