Raiders charge halted by controversial call as Sharks hold on to win

Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita

Controversy is never out of the picture in the NRL and the Canberra Raiders were on the receiving end in their loss to the Cronulla Sharks.

The Sharks eventually held on to win 28-24 despite a Raiders late fightback on two occasions.

It was the non-decision made on a Sharks try in the second half, however, that had Raiders fans up in arms.

Touch judge Ricky McFarlane raised his flag to indicate that the attacking team had made an error.

With Raiders plays paused and arms in the air, the play continued and Sione Katoa went over to score for the Sharks.

As the play went upstairs to the bunker, they decided there was no touch by Sharks centre Jesse Ramien.

And so, the try remained and it halted the Raiders momentum at that time.

Things started rather poorly for Raiders. An early dropped ball before Jordan Rapana was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Although the Sharks did not capitalise then, they did soon after. Andrew Fifita shrugged players off and powered over.

Some slick ball movement saw Ricky Leutele get his name on the scoresheet and the Sharks went up 12-0.

Rapana made up for his sin-binning, though; bursting through the line and linking up with Joseph Leilua before Brad Abbey finished it off to score.

That potential Raiders charge was halted, however, as Valentine Holmes made two line-breaks – scoring off one.

That was then followed by a Wade Graham try to seemingly put the game to bed at half-time for the Sharks.

There is some concern over Graham playing next week due to a groin injury after he failed to return for the second half.

A Joey Leilua double then breathed fire into the Raiders attack.

First, he capitalised on a Blake Austin hit and spin to dive over, before combining with Josh Hodgson for a second.

That momentum ended when the controversial Katoa call was allowed, though the Raiders would score again.

Rapana getting a try of his own as the Raiders sought to win or level it up but it was not to be.

Although the controversial call did cost his side the game, Raiders captain Josh Hodgson did not blame that for their loss.

“I was on the inside and you saw the touchie put the flag up and then half put it down,” Hodgson said.

“As soon as you see a flag, you stop your feet. If you watch the video back, the ref [keeps going to blow the whistle],”

“We were all just waiting for the whistle.

“We all just stopped and he ran through and scored. He called no try, you’ve got to give proof it’s definitely not a try.”

There was no sympathy from Sharks coach Shane Flanagan who merely said that teams must play to the whistle.

“You’re always told as a young kid to play to the whistle and he [Katoa] did,” Flanagan said.

“You get a little bit of luck in some games and we might of got a bit of luck then, I’m not sure.

“It doesn’t surprise me – we see touchies not put their flags up or put their flags up just a couple of weeks ago.”

Player of the Game:

3. Andrew Fifita

2. Joey Leilua

  1. Jordan Rapana

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