Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan fears the coming NRL finals could be overshadowed by a concerning amount of contentious decisions coming out of the bunker.
His concerns come after review official Bernard Sutton controversially overruled the on-field decision to deny Blake Austin a try in the Sharks’ loss to Canberra on Saturday night.
With the Raiders leading 22-8, referee Ashley Klein ruled Austin had committed a double movement in an attempt to score in the 59th minute.
However, Sutton awarded a try on review, saying Sharks defenders had contributed to the Raiders five-eighth being pushed over the line.
It was a strikingly similar incident to the one that robbed Brisbane forward Herman Ese’ese of his maiden NRL try in last week’s loss to the Sydney Roosters.
“By no means were we going to win tonight whether that was a try or not a try, I’ll put that one out there first,” Flanagan said.
“But he was tackled and then he makes another movement towards the tryline. We’ve had this debate in the Broncos game. There’s so many of them. I just don’t know any more. It’s a lottery.”
Flanagan said he wasn’t the only coach who had been left dismayed by rule interpretations from the bunker.
“I think all coaches are (confused), not just me. I’m not having a whinge about it because we lost. They were always going to win, the Raiders, tonight.
“But generally going into the finals series, there are still a lot of question marks about adjudication and application of the rules.”
Flanagan said he was unsure whether the bunker, introduced this year, had improved the number of correct decisions this season.
“We’d like to think we’d get more right than wrong but I don’t know if that is the case at the moment,” he said.
“We want to be talking about good games and (how) the better team deserved to win like they did tonight, when those big games come around, not refereeing decisions.”