Harrigan leaves Knights confused - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harrigan leaves Knights confused

By Brent Read 28/03/2003 10:27:52 PM Comments (0)

Referee Bill Harrigan found himself at the centre of another controversy in a Parramatta-Newcastle game - only this time it was Knights left shaking their heads.

The Eels broke their National Rugby League duck with a 30-12 win over Newcastle at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night - a win which marked Brian Smith's 100th in charge of Parramatta and helped captain Nathan Cayless celebrate his 25th birthday in style.

But the victory was almost lost in another refereeing controversy, just over eight months after Harrigan left his mark at EnergyAustralia Stadium in a match between the two sides which led to him being rested for a week.

On that occasion Harrigan sin-binned three Parramatta players - this time the game's No.1 whistleblower caned the Knights in the opening 20 minutes.

The penalty count after 22 minutes was 7-0 to Parramatta and they put the possession to good use, taking an early 12-0 lead.

The count finished 8-6 in Parramatta's favour, but it was only a matter of time before the early weight of possession took its toll on the undermanned Knights, toiling without winger Josh Smith (knee) and young forward Matthew Jobson (cheekbone) in the second half.

That came in the final ten minutes when Pat Richards, Jason Moodie and Jamie Lyon crossed against a Newcastle side struggling to stay on its feet, let alone hold out waves of Parramatta attacks.

"I'm a bit confused at the moment," Newcastle coach Michael Hagan said.

"I think that's all that needs to be said at the moment on that issue. I think the players and/or the coaches are getting more confused as we progress.

"I don't think we were that bad in the first 20 (minutes) at the ruck but it was perceived that we were. I think the toll on the players from the possession in the first 20 took its toll in the back ten to be honest."

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