NRL admits three wrong calls cost Parramatta in loss to Broncos
Paul Crawley and Fatima Kdouh,
The Daily Telegraph
an hour ago
Parramatta were robbed of the chance to finish in the NRL’s top four courtesy of a series of refereeing blunders in Friday night’s heartbreaking golden-point loss to Brisbane. NRL referees boss Bernard Sutton has confirmed in a private chat with coach Brad Arthur that three crucial calls went against the Eels, including a howler at the death. Broncos skipper Darius Boyd was not penalised for pushing Clint Gutherson into Matt Lodge as Gutherson tried to charge down Jamayne Isaako’s match-winning field goal. On Monday night, Sutton said that was a blunder. “I’m of the opinion that the Eels should have been awarded a penalty,” Sutton said.
“Darius is entitled to take up the position he initially moves to. “However, he is not permitted to then adjust his position to obstruct or interfere with Clint Gutherson. Darius is required to hold his ground.”
Referees boss Bernard Sutton concedes Darius Boyd should have been penalised for blocking Clint Gutherson. Picture: Fox Sports
Although it received little attention from the commentators on the night, there was outrage among the Eels’ faithful that such a crucial and obvious call could be missed when the pocket referee was standing right near the incident.
With the end-of-season finals just around the corner, it has again exposed how the rules become a lottery in extra-time. But Graham Annesley, the NRL’s head of football, denied this was the case and claimed players were more conscious of giving away penalties during golden point.
Broncos players celebrate Jamayne Isaako’s matchwinning field goal. Picture: AAP
What makes it more concerning is that this is the same situation that the NRL cracked down on in 2016 to stop teams deliberately standing in the way of chasing defenders who are trying to charge down field goals. Arthur was also apparently told that Brisbane’s David Fifita should have been penalised in the lead-up play when he ran behind teammates before making a charge to get his side in position to kick the field goal. Even though that would have been a tough call against the Broncos, it was an almost identical scenario Mitchell Moses had been pinged for in the 32nd minute. And in a triple whammy, it is understood Sutton also told Arthur that the forward pass decision which cost Blake Ferguson a try was also wrong.
The NRL conceded this pass from Clint Gutherson was incorrectly ruled as forward, denying Blake Ferguson a try. Picture: Fox Sports
Annesley confirmed the wrong call on Monday. “The pass looked OK to me,” he said. “It’s one of those long, looping passes which often are a bit of an optical illusion but the most important thing is how it comes out of the hands … even though it was a high, looping pass it came out of the hands OK.” The NRL’s integrity unit is following up with police the incident between Melbourne’s Will Chambers and a Manly fan. “The NRL does have the ability to issue ban notices to people who we don’t want to see in our game if they are going to act with that kind of behaviour. It’s unacceptable,” Annesley said. Despite a fan getting close enough to confront Chambers in the tunnel at Lottoland on Saturday night, Annesley confirmed the ground does meet the standard required to host a finals match.