Rabbitohs question close calls
South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has questioned several key decisions from the on-field officials and the Bunker following his side's heartbreaking 25-24 loss to the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.
Souths fought back from an 18-8 half-time deficit to hold a six-point lead after an hour, only for the Broncos to level the scores through Tautau Moga who reacted quickest after teammate Anthony Milford had been held up in goal and had the ball stripped.
The ruling came moments after both sides had been denied tries by the Bunker, with Andrew McCullough's effort ruled out for a knock on, while Bryson Goodwin's four-pointer was overturned after James Roberts was pushed out in a preceding contest.
Perhaps the biggest call of the match came three minutes from full-time when Milford appeared to bobble a pass before he snapped a field goal with his left boot to seal the dramatic win.
"I came in here looking to blow up, but to be truthfully honest I don't think that's going to do anything," Maguire said after the game.
"They (the players) are busting their arses out there on the field and they're doing a good job, but you come up with things like that from decisions – it's very blatant.
"I think we might start playing rugby union close to the line. I thought when you cross the line and your arm actually touches the ground, that that is actually classed as a tackle, but they seemed to be able to say 'play on and let's throw the ball back and score a try'.
"We've got fans out there that live and breathe this club; how do I explain to them the decisions that are being made?
"Those games change your season. Those two points are what every team is fighting for."
Rabbitohs skipper Sam Burgess was clearly disappointed with the result, but was full of praise for the way in which his teammates fought their way back into the contest.
"It's certainly frustrating," he said.
"There was some great effort there from both teams. I thought we went into half-time down, but I probably didn't think we deserved that because we'd played better than that and then we showed some great character to get back in front.
"I think a couple of calls spoilt what was a decent game in the end.
"I'm proud of the team and some of the things that we went through, but we got ourselves in that position again [and we couldn't get the win].
"We've got a disappointed set of boys in there but we've just got to keep doing what we believe in. We've just got to keep buying into what this club is all about, and if we do that then we'll get more wins than not."
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett was just relieved to leave ANZ Stadium with the two competition points after what he described was a "crazy game".
Brisbane's master coach didn't share Maguire's views on the Milford field-goal ruling, arguing that there was no evidence to suggest the ball was knocked-on.
"It was a crazy game - I think that's the best way to describe it. There were a lot of controversial moments in it and it was just weird," he said.
"It didn't look good but I couldn't see any bobble on the ball. I couldn't see the ball at any stage knocked-on. I saw a couple of replays of it so I don't know why it wouldn't be a fair catch. Maybe we've solved these problems with field goals – he should kick them with his left foot!
"I think he [the referee] felt like it was a clean catch. He had a great view – he was standing right there looking at it."
Bennett also shared his views on the Moga try.
"That was a crazy moment in the game," he said.
"If there was enough evidence to suggest that he didn't score the try – I don't believe they had enough evidence to suggest he didn't score that try. I thought at some stage that the ball was grounded in that movement.
"He also ruled a try on the ground so I don't think there was enough evidence to overrule it."