Des Hasler proven right as NRL admits Titans dudded in controversial Raiders loss

Graham Annesley said the referees missed a big call that could have helped the Gold Coast win.

Des Hasler has been proven right after Graham Annesley confirmed Raiders fullback Chevy Stewart was offside in the charge down of five-eighth Kieran Foran in the final moments of the Titans' NRL loss. The Titans went down to the Raiders in golden point, which prompted Ricky Stuart to fire back at Hasler's post-match remarks after the Gold Coast coach blamed the refereeing as part of the reason why his side lost.

The Raiders coach accused the Titans of "cheating" in their narrow one-point win on Sunday, with both coaches' comments likely to land them in hot water with the NRL. Canberra looked to have thrown away a near-certain two points, after leading 20-10 with just four minutes left before conceding a pair of tries to Titans winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira to send the match to golden point.

The NRL has confirmed Raiders fullback Chevy Stewart (pictured right) was offside in the charge down of five-eighth Kieran Foran, which left coach Des Hasler frustrated. (Images: Getty Images/@NRL)
The NRL has confirmed Raiders fullback Chevy Stewart (pictured right) was offside in the charge down of five-eighth Kieran Foran, which left coach Des Hasler frustrated. (Images: Getty Images/@NRL)

The Raiders looked beaten in the extra period but were saved by a monumental charge-down by teenage debutant Stewart, who blocked Foran's close-range field-goal attempt. This left Hasler fuming and claimed the bunker should have looked for offside at the charge down. His comments fired up rival coach Stuart. However, head of football Graham Annelsey confirmed on Monday the Raiders fullback was in an offside position.

“Players have to be back 10 metres and have one foot behind the referee when the ball clears the ruck," Annesley said on Monday. “You can see most of the Raiders have one foot on the goal line and they have to anchor at least one foot on the goal line.

“The ball is clear of the ruck pretty much once it has been heeled. If we have a look over at Chevy Stewart he is already off the line and again if you follow his movements coming across and it is Chevy Stewart who actually charges the ball down. He in this instance is off-side.”

Were the Titans dudded in the loss to the Raiders?

While many would feel the Titans should have had a penalty, Annesley claimed this might not have been the case. “The question is what should have happened from this?” Annesley said. “It has been suggested that should have been a penalty and two points. But of course it should have been a set restart if there was a suggestion that he was off-side.

“The other question was asked as to why the Bunker didn’t review this? And the Bunker can’t review 10 metres compliance and there is a very good reason for that. It is because in most parts of the field depending on where the play-the-ball is, there is no lines to assess.

Pictured left Ricky Stuart and right Des Hasler
Ricky Stuart said Des Hasler is "on another planet" after the Titans coach complained about the refereeing in Canberra's golden point win. Image: Getty

“It is almost impossible in between lines to determine whether players are in front of the referee or not, particularly if they are out wide." Annesley said the call should have been viewed by the touch judges. "If they had picked up the offside player, waved six-again and the play breaks down ... then they will say there is no advantage and give the penalty," he added.

The admission will only further frustrate Hasler as another chance could have handed his team their first win of the season. Instead, Ethan Strange found space to break Gold Coast's line before Raiders halfback Jamal Fogarty spared his team's blushes by slotting a clutch 90th-minute field goal to grab a 21-20 win and extend Gold Coast's losing streak in 2024 to five on the bounce.

Following the narrow defeat, Hasler criticised referee Kasey Badger, labelling her performance "pretty poor" after his team conceded five penalties to three, and gave away eight set restarts to the Raiders' one. The Gold Coast coach also suggested Canberra's Stewart was offside when he blocked Foran's close-range field-goal attempt in golden point.

"Did they review it? They didn't review it. So why not?" Hasler queried. "So from that point of view, it was heartbreaking. The refereeing performance was pretty poor … 10 six-agains to one, some of those are warranted ... some of them just leave us battling field position the whole time."

Stuart, however, loved the effort of his 18-year-old fullback and the effort play he made to save the game. "The emotions in the sheds were probably more for Chevy," he said. "He had a wonderful game, and the boys love Chev. Under fatigue, for him to have the mindset to get in there at marker knowing Kieran was going to be having the field goal ... that's been learned from a young age.


Ricky Stuart accuses Titans players of 'cheating'

Stuart also didn't take too kindly to Hasler's scathing post-match assessment, accusing the Titans of "cheating" by wrestling his players for extended periods which stopped them from getting quick play the balls. The Raiders coach said in his opinion the penalty and set restart count should have been skewed even more in their favour, saying by his assessment his side could have received "another 10 or 12" set restarts.

"If he's critical of the six-agains and the penalties, he's on another planet," Stuart said. "He coached well ... but the way they cheated when they were standing there with their hand on the ball ... the way they cheated on the ground.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Jamal Fogarty of the Raiders kicks a field goal to win during the round six NRL match between Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans at GIO Stadium, on April 14, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Jamal Fogarty slotted a clutch 90th minute field goal to grab a 21-20 win over the Titans on Sunday night.

"I feel sorry for Kasey the way they were in her face all night. She had to withstand a lot of pressure. I'm gonna be making sure I ring (referee boss) Jared (Maxwell) to find out who's right or wrong here, because I thought Kasey, under pressure, she did a really good job."

Hasler joked during his press conference that he’d be fined $25,000 for his rant and is expected to be sanctioned for his remarks. While Stuart could also be slapped with a financial sanction for starting his press conference retort by saying "f*** me". The Raiders coach was previously fined for swearing in a press conference.

with AAP