The honeymoon is over for the bunker, according to Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan.
The NRL’s ‘central command centre’ launched for the 2016 season to serve as a reference point for difficult on-field decisions had been hailed as a success over the opening two rounds.
But it has hit the skids according to Flanagan.
The Sharks mentor was particularly incensed by a try awarded to Manly hooker Matt Parcell early in the Sea Eagles’ win at Brookvale Oval on Monday night.
Parcell’s touchdown was sent to the bunker as a try, although there was doubt as to whether there were two defenders in the tackle in the immediate lead-up in which Luke Lewis had the ball stripped.
The bunker ruled that only Brenton Lawrence was effecting a tackle on Lewis when he stripped the ball, and that the former representative star only came into contact with interchange forward Siosaia Vave as he fell to the ground.
“I thought the bunker came crashing back to earth this weekend,” Flanagan said.
“I watched that first try with Luke Lewis if that wasn’t raked out … it was there for everyone to see that amazes me that one. I thought there was a chance for the bunker to come into it (and overrule)” For me it was obvious the ball was stolen.”
The bunker did cop some criticism from other sources throughout round three.
There was a cabling issue that prevented its use in Penrith’s win over Brisbane at Pepper Stadium on Saturday night.
In Canterbury’s loss to Parramatta at ANZ Stadium on Friday night many were confused when a try to Bulldogs winger Sam Perrett was disallowed after officials in the bunker appeared to rule there was a forward pass in the lead-up, something they are not allowed to do.
“There were a few (decisions) on the weekend that showed a few chinks in the bunker,” Flanagan said.
“It is great to speed the game up with the bunker and we are getting all those pictures but we are still going to have mistakes when people are involved in it unfortunately that is just the way it is. It is never going to change.”