Veteran Daily Telegraph reporter Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield ruffled some featers on the NRL 360 panel by suggesting there may have been an element of a “square up” by officials in the controversial finish to the Dragons-Raiders Round 22 thriller.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley acknowledged Canberra should have been awarded a late penalty on three separate occasions during the last play of their 12-10 loss to St George Illawarra back in Round 16.
But fotunes shifted this weekend as the Dragons were denied a last-second penalty — and Annesley claimed referee Adam Gee made the right decision to blow his whistle when Dragons winger Mathew Feagai was tackled.
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Time had expired before Raiders enforcer Corey Harawira-Naera’s second effort pushed Feagai off his feet, meaning even if the Dragons challenged the decision, they wouldn’t have been successful.
Rothfield called the decision a “square up”, claiming the NRL owed Ricky Stuart’s men two points but his fellow NRL 360 panellists laughed off the suggestion.
“I watched the footage today and Corey Harawira-Naera holds him down for too long, but the game was over,” Braith Anasta said, pointing to the vision on NRL360.
“… So the infringement after that time is irrelevant, which is what happened… the game was over.”
“Hang on, you don’t think there was a little bit of square up in that?” Rothfield said.
“We owe Canberra two competition points, they owed them two points.”
“It was a footy gods square up Buzz,” Hooper said.
Paul Kent said he was initially surprised no penalty was awarded but later agreed it was the right call.
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“I was like much of the population, when I saw that. I thought it was another debacle from the referees and I thought they got it wrong and the irony being it happened the opposite way last time,” Kent said.
“Let me go through the rules, time has expired there, time has expired and they didn’t have a challenge left, and it wouldn’t have been okay because the knock-on was after time had expired.
“If you listen to the audio, the referee has the video bunker counting down in his ear and he tells him when time has finished, it was before that happened.”
Rothfield referenced another occasion the Raiders had been on the receiving end of poor refereeing decision — when Warriors prop Matt Lodge milked a late penalty that ultimately led to a glden point win.
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“It (this weekend’s decision) was a square up, of course it was a square up,” Rothfield said.
“Come on Phil, I don’t think that referee had that in his mind at all,” Kent said.
“I don’t think Adam Gee sat there and went I am going to square this up.”