McGregor left fuming after crucial loss

McGregor left fuming after crucial loss

Dragons coach Paul McGregor has described the officials as "embarrassing and incompetent" after a number of calls went against his side during Saturday's 21-14 loss to the Knights that puts a serious dent in their push for a finals berth.

St George Illawarra remain in eighth spot on the ladder but are now level with the ninth-placed Penrith Panthers on 24 competition points with five rounds remaining.  

McGregor was left fuming after three crucial calls went against the Dragons, including two tries late in the first half as well as a deflected pass late in the game that saw the Knights receive a scrum 10 metres out from their own line. 

Centre Tim Lafai was denied a four-pointer in the 31st minute when the on-field officials sent up his effort as a no try, and even though replays suggested Jason Nightingale's touch in the lead-up had gone backwards, the Bunker didn't have enough evidence to overturn the original decision. 

‌The second crucial call saw Nene Macdonald's 95-metre effort overturned because Tyson Frizell had made contact with Trent Hodkinson as he attempted to reel in the speedster. 

"I think anyone who knows rugby league would agree because the ball went back for the Nightingale one which should have been overruled but it wasn't. Hodkinson took a dive and he wouldn't have gotten to Nene," a clearly disappointed McGregor said after the game. 

"When you spend millions of dollars [on the Bunker, it's disappointing]."

Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop was equally frustrated by the decision to award the Knights a scrum late in the game despite Ken Sio deflecting Josh Dugan's pass to Macdonald as the visitors looked to level the scores.  

"He just said it wasn't touched so what can you do about it?" Widdop said of his conversation with the officials following the incident. 

"It's disappointing when calls don't go your way. When they spend millions of dollars on it and they don't get it right, it hurts."

Knights coach Nathan Brown saw the incident differently.

"It seemed to deflect when Jacob Saifiti tried to give the ball to Joe Wardle to score and I think it deflected off Dugan," Brown said. 

"We've had as much bad luck as any team – we've had a thousand things go against us – but at the end of the day, you've got to be good enough to try to find a way. That's why I don't come in here trying to complain about the officials because these young kids have got to learn. 

"If you look at all of our close losses, you've never heard me really say too much about the officials. 

"At the end of the day, I think they (the Dragons) certainly had some chances to do well, but as I said, we just kept finding ways to put bodies there to stop them. 

"The last time we played them we dropped the ball with the line wide open under the posts with two minutes to go so sometimes what comes around goes around."