'I don't care': Robinson downplays try controversy

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson believes match officials erred in awarding a controversial try to St George Illawarra winger Nene Macdonald in the 24-8 Anzac Day loss at Allianz Stadium but he is more concerned about working on his team’s attack.

"To be honest, I don't care," Robinson said of the 69th-minute try. "I don’t think it was a try, simply, but we have got to get some stuff right for ourselves."

Later, NRL referees boss Bernard Sutton revealed the decision by the bunker's Jared Maxwell and Luke Patten was incorrect.

"Having reviewed the decision it can be seen that the ball rotates, which indicates possession has been lost," Sutton said, adding the correct ruling would have been a knock-on.

The Roosters have scored just one try in each of their past two matches. They appeared so devoid of attacking options, when camped on the Dragons try line for four consecutive sets midway through the first half, that Robinson instructed them to take a penalty goal to reduce the deficit to 6-2.

However, Robinson revealed that his players were focused on adapting to a new attacking structure to suit star recruits Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco, but a series of short turnarounds since their round three defeat of Newcastle had limited the players’ time to work on it at training.

"That's more on the coaches," Robinson said of his team's attack.

"We are making them work quite hard on structure at the moment and it is not giving them enough freedom with their eyes up footy, which we will get to really quickly."

Asked about suggestions that his players appeared more focused on getting into a position to set up for the next play than what was in front of him, Robinson said: "That's fair."

"That's us pushing them to where we want them to get to but then the subtleties need to come off the back of that," he said.

"These boys are working hard in that area and it is putting a lot of pressure on our game at the moment. We are just not applying enough pressure in that area on opposition teams."

Despite Tedesco making his team’s sole line break, the Roosters made ground through the middle and interchange forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sio Siua Taukeiaho both ran for 139 metres, while skipper Boyd Cordner carried the ball for 136 metres.

At 18-8 down and 11 minutes remaining, Robinson believed the Roosters were getting on top but a try to Macdonald, when he appeared to lose the ball in a Cronk tackle. 

Having been sent for review by referee Ashley Klein, Maxwell and Patten found insufficient evidence to overturn it as Macdonald’s outstretched index finger appeared to maintain contact with the ball.

Roosters winger Blake Ferguson.
Roosters winger Blake Ferguson. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Dragons coach Paul McGregor conceded that if the on-field decision had been no try it would not have been awarded, but Macdonald insisted he had scored.

"I was pretty 50-50. I thought I had a finger to it and I thought I got it," Macdonald said. "I thought I got it down. I was pretty confident I got it down. It didn't look good up there but they called on-field try and it's tough to turn around."

Cordner and co-captain Jake Friend approached Klein on the field at fulltime to ask for an explanation and Robinson disputed the try at the post-match press conference.

"Obviously from a distance you thought it was a try and then when you look at it closer you thought it was going to be a 20-metre re-start," he said.

"I don't care enough about that, even though I thought 18-8 was a good opportunity. I think you can see the stuff we want to improve on.

"I think you can see a lot of stuff I am really liking there but those subtleties we have got make sure we get pretty quickly so that is what I am focused on."