‘That’ll do me’: Bunker drama baffles NRL
The St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs were locked in a high-scoring thriller by halftime of their Thursday night Indigenous round clash.
After going 16-0 down after 15 minutes, the Rabbitohs hit back to make it 16-all at halftime and took the lead early in the second half.
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But the Dragons hit back through Tyson Frizell who scored a contentious try where he appeared to ground the ball with his wrist.
It wasn't a knockout blow with the Rabbitohs hitting back to run out 32-24 winners but has once again asked questions of the bunker.
Coming a week after the Dragons were on the wrong side of a bunker call when Matt Dufty grounded a ball in the in-goal but a try was awarded to the Cronulla Sharks, St George Illawarra were the beneficiaries of a bunker call that had commentators and fans scratching their heads.
While not as clear as last week's call, commentators and fans were perplexed as to how Frizell could have gathered the ball with his wrist.
On Fox League, Greg Alexander said: "Frizell's knocked it on or is that Johnston's hand underneath? I think it was Frizell knock on."
"He hasn't brought the ball under control …" Andrew Voss added before bunker official Jared Maxwell confirmed it was downward pressure.
Voss was trying to understand the decision and said "you'd think it would have to be on the ground to force it, you haven't actually gathered it in with your forearm have you?"
Alexander said he was happy to go with the grounding by the wrist or forearm.
Voss said he'd prefer it would be adjudicated as it was written, that it had to be on the ground to force it with anything other than the hand.
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On Channel 9, Phil Gould was clear.
"Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope - he's bobbled that," Gould said.
There was a question over whether Johnston held Frizell's hand back.
After watching it again, he was more certain.
"He knocks it with his wrist and then lands on the ball," he said. "He's deadset knocked that on. You can't regrip it with your wrist."
The reaction on social media was just as stunned over the call.
They now allow knock ons to be awarded as tries. That will do me. Does the video ref need glasses or is that one to make up for last week’s howler decision against the @NRL_Dragons ??? @SSFCRABBITOHS #NRLDragonsSouths— Stephen Fenech (@StephenFenech) July 30, 2020
Luckily for the Rabbitohs it was n't a decisive blow with Cody Walker running in another try, before Johnston sealed a hat-trick with a 75m intercept to open a 10 point lead, with a penalty goal to Latrell Mitchell sealing the win.
While Mikaele Ravalawa scored with less than a minute left, Zac Lomax's kick hit the post, sealing the result for the Rabbitohs.
In a brilliant result for Indigenous Round, all 32 points for South Sydney were scored by Indigenous players, split between Johnston, Walker and Mitchell.
Originally published as 'That'll do me': Bunker drama baffles NRL
I’m not saying that was the wrong decision. I still don’t know.— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) July 30, 2020
But reckon that was worth a longer look.
Thought there was separation at least at one point and he certainly didn’t regather. #NRLDragonsSouths