Coach Paul Green says the NRL owes North Queensland an explanation after a controversial obstruction ruling against them in the 26-21 loss to Manly.
North Queensland coach Paul Green has demanded an explanation from the NRL after a controversial obstruction ruling went against the Cowboys in the dying stages of their loss to Manly, paving the way for a Sea Eagles’ victory.
The Sea Eagles scored a 26-21 come-from-behind win over the Cowboys in Gosford on Friday before 10,013 fans with Jamie Buhrer crashing over for the 78th-minute matchwinner after Johnathan Thurston had put the visitors ahead by a point two minutes earlier.
But a Kieran Foran try eight minutes from time that allowed Manly to draw level at 20-20 is sure to be a major talking point into next week.
Buhrer appeared to obstruct Cowboys defender Ray Thompson on the goal line as Foran dummied his way over but video referees Bernard Sutton and Paul Mellor awarded the try to the vehement protests of Thurston.
To make matters worse, Brett Stewart lost the ball forward in the lead-up to the Foran try but Manly were given six again by referee Gavin Badger.
Green said he couldn’t believe the decision to award the Foran try.
“That refereeing decision is absolutely bewildering. Someone needs to explain to me what the rule is because, in my opinion, they must have changed the rule,” Green said.
“If that is not an obstruction I will walk nude through Pitt Street.
“I am absolutely bewildered how they can get it so wrong and this is not just our game – this is happening too regularly.
“This needs to be better.
“What’s disappointing for the game is that decisions like that are deciding outcomes; that’s not good enough.
“They owe us an explanation.
“There wasn’t a bloke in this ground that thought it was a try.”
When asked how he saw the Foran play, Thurston said: “I saw it how everyone else saw it, except the blokes in the video box.”
Manly coach Geoff Toovey conceded his team were fortunate to get the two points.
“I didn’t get a good look at it (the obstruction),” Toovey said.
“I think we were probably a bit fortunate. You couldn’t tell conclusively from the video.
“It was a bit of luck there but we will take it.
“But I’m sure they will be a bit upset about it.”
Green did concede that the Cowboys should have been more ruthless in finishing off the game.
A first-half double to Brent Tate coupled with a 21st-minute four-pointer to Kyle Feldt put the Cowboys ahead 14-6 at halftime after Steve Matai opened the scoring for Manly in the fifth minute.
NSW State of Origin hopeful Jorge Taufua crossed for a second-half double in the 59th and 67th minutes for Manly before Foran’s controversial effort, with Cowboys winger Curtis Rona scoring on his NRL debut in the 56th minute.
Daly Cherry-Evans was a late withdrawal for Manly due to a leg injury, while Anthony Watmough didn’t return for the second half after hurting his elbow in the lead-up to Tate’s second try.