Josh Aloiai cops fresh fallout at Manly as NRL fans slam 'pathetic' Warriors call

The Warriors snatched a draw against Manly as a result of the contentious incident.

The NRL has dealt Josh Aloiai and Manly a fresh blow after charging the prop for dangerous contact, following a controversial incident late in Saturday's 22-22 draw with the Warriors. Aloiai tried put pressure on Warriors half Shaun Johnson as he attempted to kick a two-point field goal to send the game into extra time but made contact with Johnson's legs and gave away a match-levelling penalty from right in front.

The call sparked debate around the game, with many fans arguing it was Johnson's leg that made contact with Aloiai's arm, and not the other way around. But on Sunday, the Manly prop was hit a grade-two dangerous contact charge that will see him banned for one match. That means Aloiai will miss Manly's trip to Gold Coast next weekend with an early guilty plea, or risk a second game on the sidelines if he fights the charge and loses.

The Warriors drew against Manly in the NRL after a controversial late penalty for a foul on Shaun Johnson. Pic: Getty/Fox League
The Warriors drew against Manly in the NRL after a controversial late penalty for a foul on Shaun Johnson. Pic: Getty/Fox League

The development comes after Manly coach Anthony Seibold gave a measured response to the controversy that allowed the Warriors to snatch a nail-biting draw with the Sea Eagles in Auckland. Manly led by 22-14 with 55 seconds left in regulation time, but a late try to Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak and a penalty goal to Johnson from the contentious Aloiai incident tied the game up.

With three seconds left on the clock, Johnson attempted a two-point field goal from more than 40 metres out to send the match to golden point. However, his kicking foot came into contact with Aloiai as the Manly prop tried to put pressure on Johnson, constituting a penalty. That gave Johnson an easy shot from in front of the posts to send the game to extra time, with neither side able to find a winning score of any sort and the match ending in a draw.

The Warriors' controversial late penalty proved the game's biggest talking point, with many viewers arguing that Aloiai never initiated the contact with Johnson, whose leg followed through and hit his arms as a result of the field goal attempt. Seibold was not prepared to be drawn on the controversy after the match and gave a classy response to the incident in his post-match press conference.

"It's probably something I don't want to make comment on," Seibold said afterwards. "Because if I say it shouldn't have been a penalty I'll be called a whinger. If I say it should have been a penalty then potentially I'm not looking after the players in my group. It was adjudicated a penalty and we get on with it."

NRL world divided over contentious Warriors penalty

Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans said he understood the decision to protect the kicker, much like the rules in professional football that many fans argue should not be applied in rugby league. But Warriors coach Andrew Webster was adamant that it was a clear penalty. "It's definitely the right call," Webster said. "It's unfortunate. I don't think Josh meant it. He's trying to charge the ball down.

"He's going for a field goal and Josh has to do that. He's got to go for the ball. It's unfortunate what happened, but it's fortunate for us." Many other angry viewers took to social media in disagreement though, calling it a "pathetic" and "dubious" call that denied Manly what would have been a brave victory against a fast-finishing Warriors.

Fast-finishing Warriors snatch draw with spirited Manly

Manly were on track to spring an upset against the high-flying Warriors after blowing the home side away to race out to a 16-0 lead in the first half. A Cherry-Evans double and a third Manly try for Tommy Talau put the visitors in command before the home side scored two tries in four minutes, including an intercept to Waetene-Zelezniak on halftime that made it 16-10 at the break.

The Warriors dominated second-half field position as their middles ran amok and fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ran for a mind-boggling 337 metres at the back. Cherry-Evans put Manly on the front foot again though, sending Ben Trbojevic over for a try to make it 22-12 early in the second half, before the youngest of the Trbojevic brothers hobbled off with a hamstring injury late on.

Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak's two tries helped the Warriors snatch a dramatic draw against Manly in the NRL. Pic: Getty
Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak's two tries helped the Warriors snatch a dramatic draw against Manly in the NRL. Pic: Getty

Manly also lost Toff Sipley (knee), while Warriors prop Jazz Tevaga (hamstring) finished a brutal contest on crutches. But a piece of Johnson magic got the Warriors back in the match when he stepped Tom Trbojevic from 40 metres out to score and make it 22-14. The veteran halfback then stood in a tackle and threw the last pass for Waetene-Zelezniak's late try to set up the grandstand finish.

Webster's men fluffed two chances to win it in golden point with the better field position, the first came when Tohu Harris dropped a ball on the attack, before a 30-metre field-goal shot from Johnson went well wide in the second half of extra time. In contrast, Manly struggled to get out of their own end and were limited to two long-range field goal efforts from Cherry-Evans that fell short.

with AAP