Griffin: We are to blame, not refs
Coach Anthony Griffin has refused to blame Brisbane's two-point loss against South Sydney on the referees, instead lamenting various "dumb patches" from his side during the contest that helped the Rabbitohs snatch a late, albeit controversial victory.
An Adam Reynolds penalty goal two minutes from time handed the Bunnies a thrilling Anzac Day victory, however the game will unfortunately be overshadowed by referee controversy, with the referees ruling that Ben Hunt had stripped the ball from Sam Burgess with more than one defender in the tackle.
Despite the contentious circumstances surrounding Souths' nail-biting win, Griffin was cautious not to blame the officials, deflecting the attention towards the Broncos inability to close out the contest when they were in a winning position.
"I'm not here to whinge about referees – the calls are the calls," Griffin said.
"I'm not relying on whether a call was right or not – that's the theatre of our game at the moment.
"It's been typical of the way we've had a few losses this year. We're just finding a way to lose in the most ridiculous ways at the moment. It was an extremely strong performance with some dumb patches and unfortunately we have nothing to show for it.
"We're just beating ourselves at the moment. The positive is that there hasn't been a game [in 2014] we shouldn't have won."
After hopping off to a lightning start to lead 14-0 after 15 minutes, the Rabbitohs seemed to retreat back into their burrow as the Broncos finally galloped into gear, piling on three unanswered tries inside eight minutes before half-time.
Andrew McCullough's try in the 42rd minute stretched Brisbane's lead out to eight points and despite a try to George Burgess in the 51st minute, the Broncos were able to counterpunch with Jack Reed's four-pointer in the 67th minute, enabling them to lead by six points heading into the final phase of the game.
Once Souths levelled in the 72rd minute through Kirisome Auva'a, the Broncos seemed to panic, with Ben Hunt's field goal charged down by Sam Burgess that eventually led to Reynolds' penalty goal.
"We got to eight in front (42rd minute), then to six in front (67th minute) and then turned [the ball] over twice in our own end in the last seven minutes," Griffin added.
"I couldn’t be prouder of their effort – we came up with an awful amount of strong defence.
"[But] we just threw all our eggs in the one basket trying to set up for the field goal instead of just trying to play footy.
"It was just a weird game. When they got to 14-0, they got there so easily off a 100-metre run from Inglis and a kick try [to Johnston].
"Early on they just had a lot of power and a lot of ball. I was very confident if we could get a swing [towards us], defend and get some ball, we could get back into the game – which we did.
"We got into a position a couple of times to put that game to bed but we didn’t and that's where we are at the moment as a team. When we get it right, we'll progress in the competition."
Co-captain Justin Hodges echoed the sentiments of his coach, with the makeshift five-eighth proud of his team, but disappointed they couldn’t grasp victory when the game was in their hands.
"Like 'Hook' said – we are to blame, we lost the game," Hodges said.
"The first 25 minutes Souths really gave it to us. They're a quality side and we turned the ball over too many times.
"I'm proud of the boys the way they hung tight there. That [period of the game] cost us 14 points, but we came back strong. So in that sense the boys really dug in because we could've been 30 points [down] coming into half-time."