Canterbury are refusing to take out their frustrations on the NRL whistle-blowers despite being on the end of a controversial call in their 20-6 loss to Parramatta on Friday.
Bulldogs captain James Graham was left furious and most punters were scratching their heads after head referee Matt Cecchin sent a decision upstairs to be adjudicated by the video referees after winger Sam Perrett crossed in the corner in the 56th minute.
Cecchin ruled a try but asked the bunker to check the last pass from Sam Kasiano, questioning whether it had been thrown forward or had been touched by an Eels player.
The video refs in the bunker came back with a no-try ruling, overturning Cecchin’s on-field decision.
But because video referees cannot rule on forward passes and because Cecchin had ruled a try, many questioned why Perrett hadn’t been awarded the four-pointer on the spot.
“A momentum-killer is probably a fair way to put it,” Dogs coach Des Hasler said.
“Everyone’s probably going to say `well he’s called try and it can’t get overruled on a forward pass because that’s the interpretation they were running with last year’.
“The only things I can assume is he shouldn’t have called a try.”
NRL referees boss Tony Archer confirmed the video refs cannot rule on a forward pass. But he argued they were only checking whether the ball had been touched and not whether it had travelled forwards out of Kasiano’s hands.
As well, it was unclear why Cecchin stated he believed it was a try when his touch judge had told him the pass was forward.
At the time, the Dogs were hanging in the fight, down 8-0 and a Perrett try would have changed the momentum of the game with 24 minutes to go.
However Graham said they could not blame the result on the decision to deny his winger.
“I didn’t know that you could overturn on a forward pass but I don’t think that’s why we lost tonight, let’s be honest,” Graham said.
“Maybe it’s a different game and it gives us some momentum but I don’t believe it’s the reason why we lost.”
And while the process baffled many, they were in almost unanimous agreement the call was right after replays revealed Kasiano had lobbed it forward.
“I thought it was forward, I just wasn’t sure whether he was allowed to rule on it or not,” Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said.
“It was forward wasn’t it? That’s a bit of common sense too, it was a forward pass and we’ve got all this technology in the bunker, let’s rule on it. That’s not a try.”