Titans coach questions crucial calls
Titans coach Neil Henry is hoping to get some clarification from NRL referees boss Tony Archer on two crucial second half calls which left him 'flabbergasted' as his side bowed out of the 2016 Telstra Premiership Finals after losing to the Broncos.
In addition to losing Zeb Taia (quad) prior to kick-off and Ashley Taylor (hip) shortly before half-time Gold Coast had a number of contentious calls go against them as Brisbane scored twice late to seal a 44-28 win at Suncorp Stadium.
Conceding that he "could wear" the decision to award Brisbane a penalty try in the 10th minute after Konrad Hurrell kicked the ball free of the grasp of Jordan Kahu, Henry was most mystified by two calls midway through the second half that stalled the Titans' attempts at a comeback.
Brisbane were awarded a penalty 10 metres out from their try-line when winger Corey Oates came down heavily after attempting to take a bomb and coming in contact with Titans opposite David Mead. Shortly after James Roberts went unpunished when he appeared to kick out at a prone Ryan Simpkins laying on the ground in front of him.
Rather than being on the attack trying to reduce the 28-18 deficit, the Titans conceded a try through Oates and were down by 16 points with 15 minutes left in the game.
At half-time Archer spoke to Channel Nine about the decision to award a penalty try and addressed the media again in a post-game press conference but Henry saw that as little consolation as his team's season was brought to an end.
"I understand Tony Archer took the time out to talk to Darren Lockyer at half-time to explain a penalty try situation but I hope he takes some time to explain to me a couple of decisions out there," Henry said.
"I've got a huge question on David Mead going for a ball and the penalty which was a momentum change – they went down the other end and scored a try – and I've got another one where a player playing the ball kicks a defender in the back – has two goes at him – and they don't do anything about it.
"I'm flabbergasted by that and no doubt I'll get some feedback but it's of no consequence to my men in there who are very upset about those two decisions in particular."
Playing in what would prove to be his last game after 15 years in the NRL, Titans captain Nathan Friend remonstrated with referee Gerard Sutton on the field when Mead was penalised for contacting Oates while contesting a bomb and was disappointed that his career had to end in such a fashion.
"That was probably why I was most disappointed in some of those calls because we had some of the momentum there," said Friend, who had wife Kelly and his two sons attend the post-match press conference.
"We're a team that never gives up and I thought we had some opportunity there to claw it back.
"It's just unfortunate that it's my last game and we've had a few decisions not go our way but we certainly can't use that as an excuse."
After starting brightly the Titans led 6-0 after four minutes and 12-6 through 15 minutes but were put under more and more pressure by an experienced Broncos team.
Kahu's second try and another to Jarrod Wallace saw Brisbane jump out to a 16-12 lead and as they hammered away at the Titans' line appeared destined to take an even greater advantage into half-time.
But showing tremendous courage and resilience the Titans managed to hit back two minutes from half-time through Josh Hoffman and went into the sheds with an 18-16 lead and belief they could go on and record an upset win.
"We had a belief that we could win a game here, there's no doubt about that and that was extinguished late but for nearly 70 minutes we're there fighting away," Henry said.
"I think we've shown that if you hang in you can win your fair share of games. We've had a lot of tight losses too we just need a bit of class at times or belief to close out games and be better at that.
"We've tasted it now and our challenge is to build the roster and keep things going and the momentum that this side has got, take it into the next season."
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