Canterbury coach Des Hasler has apologised for the actions of some of his club’s supporters after the Bulldogs’ bitter 18-17 defeat by South Sydney in a Good Friday thriller at ANZ Stadium.
Hasler’s side led the Rabbitohs up until the final minute when Bryson Goodwin kicked the ball over the posts after James Graham caught the standing leg of Adam Reynolds as he attempted a long-range field goal.
Referee Gerard Sutton penalised the Bulldogs captain and put him on report for the incident that saw Reynolds leave the ground on crutches and in a knee brace.
Sutton then invoked the NRL rulebook which states that if a player impedes an opponent when attempting a field goal the penalty will be taken from 10 metres out.
Graham was livid at the decision and he and fellow prop David Klemmer surrounded Sutton with Klemmer sin-binned for yelling: “You’re off your fu***ing face,” in the face of the lead official.
Sutton and his team of officials were then showered with objects thrown from the crowd as they made their way off the field.
Interchange official Darren Alchin taken to hospital with as suspected broken shoulder after allegedly being struck by a plastic bottle and then slipping over.
Despite his frustration at the defeat Hasler said the behaviour was not acceptable.
“I just want to offer an apology on behalf of the club,” Hasler said.
“I’ve been to see the refereeing official who was I think struck by a projectile he’s ok but that is not us, that is not what this club is about and it’s not what sport in this country is about.
“Unfortunately the behaviour of a few can kind of ruin it and spoil it for everybody.
“On behalf of all the officials and the players and everybody involved with the club, our sincerest apologies for what appeared and it won’t happen again.”
Graham conceded his behaviour wouldn’t have looked good on TV and said his emotions ran away with him.
“It’s not ideal. I don’t want it to get like football (soccer) players where you are bombarding referees after decisions,” Graham said.
“But when it’s so close to the end … I thought the decision that went against us was wrong, but it is what it is.
“I suppose when you have invested that much energy trying to get the two points and with a minute and 20 seconds remaining it is taken away from you sometimes the emotion gets the better of you.”
Hasler kept tight-lipped about the performance of the referees after he was stung with a $10,000 suspended fine by the NRL after round one.
However, he was upset that a push on Josh Morris, who was placed on report after kicking Issac Luke in the head, was missed as the Bulldogs desperately tried to rally with a short kick-off in the final seconds.
“There was some level of interference that occurred … there are things in a game that happen, sway back and forth,” he said.
“They got theirs on the charge down and we were denied ours … it was just unfortunate for what a hard, tough and engaging game of football.”