Orford revs ref after Titans beat Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford revs ref after Titans beat Manly

By Laine Clark 24/05/2009 08:50:33 PM Comments (0)

Wandering around the Manly dressing shed after the Gold Coast's 18-17 NRL win at Skilled Park on Sunday, Manly captain Matt Orford had just one question.

How did he concede the match-winning penalty? Orford resorted to quizzing journalists, so confused was he by referee Matt Cecchin's controversial 78th-minute infringement penalty that sealed the Titans victory.

"I don't know, seriously," a baffled Orford told reporters.

Five minutes before fulltime Orford would have been forgiven for thinking he would be leaving the tourist strip a hero.

He kicked what looked like the match-winning field goal in the 75th minute.

And the nuggety halfback had earlier muscled his way over to score the Sea Eagles' only second half try to give them a vital 16-10 lead.

However, referee Cecchin left the Sea Eagles gobsmacked when he penalised Orford for taking out Titans fullback Preston Campbell right in front of the sticks in the dying minutes.

Titans co-captain Scott Prince calmly potted over the penalty kick that sealed their first ever win over Manly.

But Orford was still left scratching his head over Cecchin's call, despite imploring the referee to explain.

"The call was 'someone got taken out without the ball' - that was the ref's ruling," Orford said.

"He didn't say me (took Campbell out), he didn't say anyone.

"I don't know. I'm lost.

"I was the one contesting the ball so I am guessing so.

"I kept looking at the screen and I couldn't find it (infringement)."

Orford said the loss would "hurt" the team as they tried to get their premiership defence back on track.

It ended a run of two straight wins for the premiers, who now have 4-7 record win-loss record in 2009.

"I still thought we fought very hard at the end and probably deserved those two points," Orford said.

Manly coach Des Hasler thought the refereeing could cost more than just two competition points.

"The impact for the NRL is that the fans will get really pissed off," he said in the dressing sheds after reading a prepared statement at the official press conference.

"People are going to be turned away from the game by seeing these situations.

"Because they are paying good money to turn up and watch the game, and in the end it isn't a contest.

"They are going to get frustrated and really disillusioned.

"It's not only today. Today was one of the worst decisions that we have seen for a while but it has been happened in other games."

It was a nightmare end to a controversial week for the Sea Eagles.

Leading up to the match there was uncertainty surrounding chief executive Grant Mayer's future after a boardroom brawl reignited.

To boot, Kiwi centre Steve Matai is expected to be out for "a couple of weeks" after sustaining an ankle injury on Sunday.

The Sea Eagles were already reeling from news that Brett Stewart may not be back before the finals, with his 8-12 week knee injury now expected to take another four months to heal.

Stewart - who was injured five weeks ago - is due back in court on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to two sexual assault charges.

Manly held the Titans to a 10-10 halftime scoreline after the Gold Coast were left to rue missed chances, bombing three tries.

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