Manly may have won the game, but the talking points are not about their victory, but rather, the controversial decisions made by the video referees, decisions that cost the North Queensland Cowboys the game.
With the game dead-locked at 12-all, the Sea Eagles scored two very controversial tries, one to Jorge Taufua, the other to Michael Oldfield, that gave the Sea Eagles the victory at Allianz Stadium, 22-12.
With Taufua’s try, there was uncertainty as to whether he actually grounded the ball, with a hint of a double movement – and with Oldfield’s try, there was a clear knock-on by Kieran Foran in the contesting of the ball in the air, neither of which was picked up on, by the video referees.
“The players in this competition have taken the game to the next level,” Henry said.
“There is no question as the quality of our product, but we’re not keeping pace in the officiating.
“Our season hung on a couple of decisions and I don’t care if you put five in the video box.
“I am not saying they are biased, they are incompetent.”
Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston’s frustrations were clear, as during the game, when he had the chance to talk to referee Shayne Hayne, he said: “That’s twice we’ve been robbed mate. Twice.”
“Those decisions, they can’t justify them, I am just gutted by them,” Thurston said after the match.
Whilst Manly coach Geoff Toovey sympathised with the Cowboys to an extent for the decisions, he believed that both tries were in fact benefit of the doubt tries.
“I saw them as benefit-of-the-doubt tries, but I thought it would have not been awarded if was not a knock-on,” Toovey said.
“There’s so much coverage with all the cameras out there but the blokes in the middle have to make the calls. Maybe they can do something about that.”
“Neil will be frustrated and I feel for him.”
With all the talk about Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran knocking that ball forward, and evidence showing that he did, Foran denied he got a hand to the football during that contest.
“I jumped up for it and Thurston kind of went for it at the same time, I didn’t feel my hand touch it so he must have got a hand to it,” Foran said.
“I was reasonably confident, provided Killer (Jamie Lyon) didn’t have a hand on him when he flicked the ball.”