Wallabies great Matthew Burke has led the outrage against the officiating in the Bledisloe Cup, labelling the refereeing "terrible" in the thrilling draw between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Wellington.
The Aussies came desperately close to sealing a first win in New Zealand since 2001, with Reece Hodge's long-range penalty shot after the full-time siren hitting an upright.
PM’S MESSAGE: Scott Morrison sends warning to Wallabies
Australia had another opportunity to win the game after regaining possession of the footy from the missed kick, but eventually coughed up possession back to the Kiwis, who then went close to snatching victory themselves.
Burke was left fuming in commentary, however, when an 83rd minute incident from right in front of the All Blacks try line went unnoticed.
The Aussies had possession fifteen metres out from the Kiwi try line when Ardie Savea seemingly joined the ruck from the side and from off his feet - both illegal offences.
A penalty would almost certainly have ended in a match-winning goal from right in front, but the referee kept his whistle in his pocket and the chance went begging for the Aussies.
"He has got to be off-side. Got to be off-side. Oh my goodness," Burke fumed.
"This refereeing has been terrible. Absolutely terrible. I can‘t believe that Sam Whitelock was onside there. What about this shot."
Plenty of other viewers, including All Blacks supporters, insisted that the Wallabies were robbed of a crucial penalty.
Ruck was formed, ball on the side but not out, if ball was out all black entitled to jump on it and steal but it wasn’t out- 2 penalties-1. he came in from the side- not allowed- 2. he put his hands in the ruck to take the ball out- not allowed— Shared Memory 🙈🙉🙊 (@MemoryShared) October 11, 2020
Spot on. Illegal side entry - the was no legal spill of the ball worth a legal steal at that time . Conscious, apprehended and actual bias by the kiwi ref , who was spectating at this juncture than make the tough factual calls.— Bush (@BushObeth) October 11, 2020
Off his feet too.— Tim O’Callaghan (@jollyswagman340) October 11, 2020
In the world where the scores are level and the 80 minutes are up. The whistle will always disappear in this sitch. Just like it does in golden point— Blake (@B_lake_7) October 11, 2020
Ref was also on the other side of the ruck.
Blatant penalty though. Should have been called.
As an ABs fan, that's a blatant penalty! It should have been called. I called that myself during live play! I don't know what the ref was looking at but that's a deadset penalty. @therugbyruckus @benkimber I hope you guys cover this Morgs and Ben!— BigWill (@BigWill_Rugby) October 11, 2020
Even his assistant on the near side should have alerted him on his mic. Just poor— Marchel Domberg (@acc244909ba54b1) October 11, 2020
The late drama was by no means the only controversial incident to go against the Wallabies in a superb first match under new coach Dave Rennie.
The Wallabies got off to the worst-possible start when the All Blacks opened the scoring off the back of an inexplicable refereeing blunder.
Jordie Barrett dived over for New Zealand in just the ninth minute, however the home side shouldn’t have had the ball.
Replays showed Reiko Ioane had put his foot on the touchline in the lead-up to the try, with Australian touch judge Angus Gardner completely missing the indiscretion.
Fans flooded social media afterwards, calling it a “disgraceful” miss from the officials.
Ioane also bombed a certain try when he knocked the ball on in the in-goal area with no Wallabies tacklers around him.
Wallabies coach pleased with display
Rennie admitted after the match that he was pleased with the performance from the Aussies, but insisted that there's plenty of room for improvement.
Smashed 36-0 by the All Blacks the last time they played in New Zealand and without a win there in 19 years, a draw would have satisfied most Wallabies teams of late.
But Rennie, who took over from Michael Cheika after their World Cup disappointment, described it as a missed opportunity given their second-half dominance.
With three more Tests to play in the series, the next at Auckland's Eden Park, the Wallabies only need to win their two matches at home to take the Bledisloe Cup trophy back after an 18-year absence.
"There's three Tests left - we had to win three anyway and now we have to win two - so from that perspective it's not a bad result but we're certainly not satisfied with the draw," Rennie said.
"We've had three weeks together and we will get a lot better but we know the All Blacks will be a lot better next week too.
"We're disappointed as we had a chance today and didn't take it so we're certainly not celebrating in the change-room."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.