‘Not acceptable’: Bunker controversy in high-scoring NRL thriller

The Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra have turned out a high scoring thriller after the first half of their clash at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Despite rain around, the teams put on some razzle dazzle as the scoreline was 22-14 at the break.

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Some sparkling tries were put on as the sides entertained the crowd braving the elements.

But while the Dragons started strong with an early try, but after 10 minutes, the Sharks hit back with Chad Townsend putting a grubber behind the line with a ricochet causing Dragons fullback Matt Dufty to slip over.

As he dived for the ball, it appeared as though he ground the ball in the in-goal with video referee Ben Galea ruling that Jack Williams “grounds the ball in the in-goal”.

But the commentators weren’t so sure with Dan Ginnane second guessing the call.

“Geez, I’ve got my glasses on … (the bunker ref) has got better eyes than me,” Steve Roach said in Fox League commentary.

“I reckon Dufty’s hand was on the ball before. If they’ve pushed the ball down at exactly the same time and his hand got there first … it looked like Dufty grounded the footy to me.”

Looked like Dufty got there first.Source:FOX SPORTS

After they watched it again as the conversion was kicked, Roach said “he’s got there first Dufty.”

“This is an incredible call,” Ginnane added.

“That’s the wrong call isn’t it guys,” Corey Parker said. “I mean Dufty’s hand clearly comes over the end of the ball there and puts it down.”

Roach added: “That’s a bad one.”


The fans agreed that it wasn’t a good look.

How can you get that wrong! Do we need a freaking 4th ref for @NRL #Dufty clearly grounded the ball! @NRL_Dragons Not acceptable #NRLSharksDragons

Jack Williams snubbed every celebration with his teammates. He knew he didn’t score #NRLSharksDragons

Was that a try? Why didn't Dufty make more of an effort to convince the refs he got there and sell it? #NRLSharksDragons

Could be wrong but I reckon even Williams got up shaking his head there. Didn’t look confident. #NRLSharksDragons

Five minutes later, it looked like the Sharks were about to go 12-6 up with Jesse Ramien cutting through the defence.

But he ran between his teammates, with three Dragons defenders getting beaten in the tackle.

“I don’t think anyone is really impeded, they get fair grabs on him twice, three times, that’s a try,” Roach said.

Jesse Ramien did run between his players.Source:FOX SPORTS

Only it wasn’t with the bunker confirming the obstruction.

While this was less clear cut with the obstruction rule running amok in 2020, it’s been a talking point for weeks.

“No, no, no — honestly, he beat three blokes who could have made the tackle on them, they should have been looking at that,” Roach said.

The sides then flexed their try scoring muscles, trading six tries in an entertaining opening half as the Sharks led 22-14.

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