Coaches slam ref for extra time thriller - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coaches slam ref for extra time thriller

By Ben Galvin 01/06/2008 02:33:14 PM Comments (0)

Rival coaches Matthew Elliott and Ian Millward have criticised the performance of rookie referee Alan Shortall following Penrith's dramatic 19-18 golden point victory over North Queensland.

Shortall, officiating his first match in the NRL, had a torrid night with the whistle.

The game began spiralling out of control when the whistleblower missed a blatant swinging arm from Penrith's Maurice Blair on Carl Webb that led to a flurry of punches being thrown.

The ugliest incident of the night came when Shortall sent off fiery Cowboys lock Luke O'Donnell for a raised elbow on Panthers halfback Luke Lewis.

Penrith coach Elliott chose his words carefully when describing Shortall's policing of the ruck area.

"I think Alan on his debut probably hasn't quite got the ruck speed covered because the speed of the ruck was ludicrously slow tonight," Elliott said.

"I think the ref is a really talented ref and he will sort out the ruck speed and I know he has got some support that will identify that for him."

Elliott however was left fuming after Shortall awarded a try to North Queensland centre Ash Graham in the dying seconds, sending the contest into extra time.

"I am going to be having a closer look at that last try because it was a reasonably disappointing decision," he said.

"I might have to stick my hand up on Monday and say I spoke too soon but on my first look it looked a bit shaky."

Millward, who has taken over as Cowboys coach for the remainder of the year following the departure of Graham Murray, was also critical of Shortall's failure to control the speed of the play the ball.

"We are probably going to reflect on a lot of things that were turning points and a lot of things that denied us a win," Millward said.

"I thought late in the game he wasn't going to give too many penalties away.

"You have got to remember it was the guy's first game, he was probably pretty nervous about it, but would have liked to see the ruck a lot cleaner and quicker."

Penrith condemned North Queensland to a fifth successive loss when winger Jarrod Sammut bounced a field goal over off the upright with just over two minutes remaining in extra time.

The Cowboys had sent the match into golden point through Graham's late try, followed by a missed conversion from Johnathan Thurston.

Only moments earlier, Panthers centre Michael Jennings looked as though he'd secured the two points with a 90-metre intercept try.

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