Refs calls mar Dragons' big 32-10 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Refs calls mar Dragons' big 32-10 win

By Steve Jancetic 16/08/2010 09:58:50 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra flexed their premiership muscle but the form of the referees was rather less encouraging after a series of baffling calls marred the Dragons' 32-10 win over Manly on Monday night.

While the Dragons all but sewed up the minor premiership with the five tries to two win at WIN Jubilee Oval to move four points clear at the top of the ladder, there is grave concern about the state of the NRL's officiating with both sides awarded dubious four-pointers.

Dragons centre Mark Gasnier was the first to benefit when the former Test star was given the green light by video referee Bill Harrigan despite replays showing him losing the ball as he stretched out for the line.

The Sea Eagles were incensed with the decision, skipper Jamie Lyon approaching on-field referee Shayne Hayne to inquire as to how Gasnier was given benefit of the doubt.

"Benefit of the doubt - he didn't even touch the ground," Lyon claimed.

Harrigan's explanation did little to clear up the situation.

"It was benefit of the doubt, there was no separation," Harrigan said.

"The ball was put down short of the line then rolled onto it." But while the 14,740-strong crowd was applauding the Gasnier try - which gave the Dragons a 10-0 lead after 30 minutes with Jamie Soward scoring a brilliant individual try early - they were soon left dumbfounded.

With the Sea Eagles trailing 16-4 after Michael Weyman's try just after the restart had cancelled out Tony Williams's effort in the dying stages of the first half, Hayne cleared what seemed an obvious forward pass for Keiran Foran's try.

Brent Kite charged at the Dragons' line and popped a ball to Foran, who appeared to be standing in front of his teammate when given the ball.

But having clawed back to within a converted try, the Sea Eagles then imploded with Soward's restart allowed to roll over the sideline.

Then Nathan Fien - playing in place of bedridden skipper Ben Hornby who was missing his first game since round 10, 2008 - dummied past Glenn Stewart to give the home side some breathing space in te 55th minute.

Manly were now getting desperate but an Anthony Watmough grubber ended in disaster when Beau Scott picked up the crumbs and ran 90 metres to seal the win, winger Brett Morris completing the rout with his 17th try of the year three minutes from time.

Manly coach Des Hasler had little doubt that the Gasnier try should not have been allowed and he called into question the set-up of the referees coaching structure with Harrigan the assistant to referees' boss Robert Finch.

"He's the referees' coach? I think Bill got it wrong - that's my opinion," Hasler said.

"There was clearly separation - someone's got to referee Bill and tell Bill.

"But if Bill's referees' coach, then who tells Bill?"

Gasnier thought it was a fair try, but admitted to some apprehension as he watched the replay.

"It felt like I did (get the ball down) but when I was watching the replay I guess there was an element of doubt there," he said.

"I guess I got the benefit of the doubt ... it was kind of one of them 50-50 calls."

Dragons coach Wayne Bennett denied there was any separation, but said any doubt over the call was negated by the Foran try.

"We've all got to live with it - the coaches, the players and teams are in the same predicament," Bennett said of the refereeing.

"We've got to accept it's not going to be perfect. We don't play perfect games of football and refs aren't going to get it perfect either."

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