Coaches divided on obstruction rulings
Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has questioned the Bunker for the second time in three weeks following two contentious decisions that went against his side in their 34-26 win over the Tigers.
The two incidents occurred within five minutes of each other, with the video review officials ruling against the Sharks on both occasions.
Ricky Leutele was denied a try in the 49th minute after it was deemed Paul Gallen had prevented Kevin Naiqama from tackling Chris Heighington, while James Tedesco was awarded a four-pointer shortly after with replays indicating Chris Lawrence has not impeded Gallen from stopping the try.
"I've been around footy all my life. For me, Gal was behind Chris Heighington when he had the ball, and he was supporting the player," Flanagan said after the game.
"The Tigers player made a decision to come in and tackle Gal. It's not Gal's problem, he can't disappear. That's a try. That's a try every day of the week."
To add to Flanagan's frustrations, the Tigers then had a try of their award green-lit by the Bunker.
"To go down the other end of the field, it's a 12-point turnaround," he said.
"The player [Lawrence] stands in our defensive line and obstructs Gal getting to the play. It doesn’t matter how much he obstructs him, he obstructed him. That's the rules and they got it wrong and it’s frustrating. It could have been costly for us."
The man at the centre of both plays, Paul Gallen, supported his coach's sentiments.
"I couldn't have summed it up any better to be honest," the Sharks skipper said.
"I was supporting and he [Naiqama] made a decision to come to me. I did run into him, but I never thought I went in front of Chris Heighington. He fell over. The difference was at the other end I didn’t fall over."
Appearing on the Fox Sports post-game coverage, referees boss Tony Archer was quick to support the men in the Bunker
"Naiqama is impeded by Gallen and it prevents the opportunity and disadvantages the defensive line," Archer said of the no-try ruling.
In relation to the Tedesco try: "My initial view was there was enough evidence to overturn it.
"I believe that Lawrence may well have stopped in the line. As I said I haven't gone back through the communication of the Bunker yet because I haven't had the opportunity. I will do that in the fullness of time."
While Flanagan and Gallen were less than impressed with the decisions, Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor had a different view on the situation.
Taylor supports the current obstruction interpretations, but admitted it was hard to comment on Saturday night's rulings as he hadn't seen enough replays.
"I don't know to be honest. I didn't look closely enough. We don't have great vision in the box," Taylor said.
"They've made it clear. You know as a lead runner you can't stop a guy who's coming across in defence. You can't hit him on the outside shoulder, and whether that player is going to be involved in the play, I don't think it matters.
"When we start making judgement calls on it, we're getting it wrong. The onus is on the attacking team. We talk to players about it all the time."