The much-heralded NRL bunker system has come under fire after North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston claimed their decisions overshadowed Brisbane’s golden point 21-20 win in the NRL grand final re-match.
North Queensland coach Paul Green will seek a “please explain” from the NRL over a number of calls, namely Michael Morgan’s 65th minute disallowed try for obstruction.
Thurston could be seen debating with officials on the field as Brisbane celebrated after Anthony Milford kicked an 85th minute match winning field goal.
Thurston could be heard demanding why his 84th minute four-pointer was disallowed due to a knock-on but Morgan’s second half denied try appeared the most contentious.
North Queensland were also denied in the 82nd minute when winger Kyle Feldt’s try was called back due to a Morgan forward pass.
The NRL’s Todd Greenberg claimed the $2 million bunker would have a zero error rate this year but the Cowboys had plenty of complaints after their loss in front of a sold out Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“The decisions overshadowed what was a great spectacle,” Thurston said.
Green said he didn’t want to make any excuses but demanded consistency from officials.
“I am a bit confused over a few things, how they came up with the decisions,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be talking about these decisions after a great contest like that.”
The rematch loomed as a repeat as the Cowboys came from behind thanks to Morgan’s heroics.
And Morgan looked to have given North Queensland the lead for the first time when he crossed in the 65th minute, only for the bunker to claim Ethan Lowe had taken out Brisbane’s Alex Glenn in the lead-up.
“The contact was incidental, it didn’t take him out,” Green said of Lowe’s contact.
There was a strong sense of deja vu in the 82nd minute when Morgan looked set to recreate his 2015 NRL grand final play by sending Feldt over in the corner, only to be called back for a forward pass.
“I didn’t think it was forward, no,” Green said.
Thurston had a heated post match talk with officials over the grounding of his disallowed extra-time try.
Thurston dived on a ball that was swatted back into play from the sideline by a diving Feldt.
“He couldn’t give me an explanation on who the knock-on was from – me or Feldty,” Thurston said.
Meanwhile, Wayne Bennett reckoned he still wasn’t a fan of extra-time despite the thrilling win.
“It’s not what I want. We have to play again next week – we used to be happy with a draw,” Bennett said.
Brisbane led 10-0 after 22 minutes and 12-6 at halftime before Morgan sparked a Cowboys comeback.
Cowboys’ Kane Linnett and Brisbane’s Jordan Kahu appeared to be nursing suspected shoulder complaints.