The Dragons showed their steel a five tries to two victory, but it was the discouraging performances from the referees, particularly a controversial decision from video ref Bill Harrigan that was the talking point.
As a result, there is a grave concern relating to the state of the NRL’s officiating with both the Dragons and Manly being awarded dubious tries.
Dragons centre Mark Gasnier was the first to be awarded with a dubious try via benefit of the doubt by video ref Bill Harrigan after he ruled Gasnier had grounded the ball, despite comprehensive replays clearly showing that he had lost control of the football.
Harrigan’s explanation did little to quell any anger the players had towards both he and ref Shayne Hayne.
“It was benefit of the doubt. There was no separation”, says Harrigan.
The controversy didn’t end there though as Manly were also awarded a dubious try, this time courtesy of a poor judgment from ref Shayne Hayne.
Trailing 16-4, Hayne cleared what clearly seemed to be a blatant forward pass by Brent Kite to Kieran Foran, who appeared to be standing in front of Kite when he received the ball.
Manly coach Des Hasler blew up after the game, and had little doubt that Gasnier’s try should have been given no try.
“He’s the referees’ coach? I think Bill got it wrong – that’s my opinion,” Hasler said.
“There was clearly separation – someone’s got to referee Bill and tell Bill.
“But if Bill’s referees’ coach, then who tells Bill?”
Dragons coach Wayne Bennett denied their was any separation, but said that Manly’s controversial call simply negated the previous bad call that went in favour of the Dragons.
“We’ve all got to live with it – the coaches, the players and teams are in the same predicament,” Bennett said of the refereeing.
“We’ve got to accept it’s not going to be perfect. We don’t play perfect games of football and refs aren’t going to get it perfect either.”