Andrew Johns blows up as NRL controversy descends to new low

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·Sports Editor
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Andrew Johns, pictured here on Channel Nine.
Andrew Johns wasn't happy after the bunker once again caused controversy in the NRL. Image: Getty/Channel Nine

Andrew Johns has once again expressed his displeasure with the much-maligned NRL bunker after a controversial try was awarded to the Melbourne Storm on Thursday night.

Melbourne snapped their two-game losing streak, with Cameron Munster starring in a 28-8 victory over Manly at AAMI Park.

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However Melbourne's first two tries weren't without controversy, and it was the bunker that once again came under fire.

Munster sliced through Manly's defence off a scrum in the sixth minute for his first of two tries.

However Johns was left fuming in commentary for Channel Nine when a possible obstruction was given the green light.

Storm fullback Nick Meaney collided with the outside shoulder of Sea Eagles fullback Reuben Garrick, preventing him from getting across towards Munster.

Even though Munster broke the line on the outside of the next defender Daly Cherry-Evans and Garrick was unlikely to stop Munster from scoring, Meaney's actions still constituted an illegal obstruction.

We've seen a number of times in recent years that any obstruction anywhere in the defensive line can cause a try to be disallowed, no matter if it affected the play or not.

“I don’t want to sound like a nark, but if they’re going to be consistent, for the last few years that’s a no-try,” Johns said.

“We’re coming into the biggest period of the year: Origin time.

"Whether there’s been a change (to obstruction interpretations), I don’t know. But if they’re going to be consistent that’s a no-try. That’s a deadset no-try, because Meaney checks the fullback there, Reuben Garrick.”

Cameron Munster, pictured here scoring a controversial try after a questionable obstruction.
Cameron Munster scored a controversial try after a questionable obstruction. Image: Channel Nine

The Storm crossed for their second try in the 31st minute when Jahrome Hughes put Chris Lewis over to score with a beautiful inside pass.

However Felise Kaufusi had blatantly not played the ball straight and was facing the sideline on the same play as the try.

“That’s played at right angles, it’s missed again," Andrew Voss said on Fox League.

"They can’t go back to the playing the ball, Lewis has gone over but I think the replay will show quite graphically that the man playing the ball was facing the crowd in the grandstand.”

Under the NRL's farcical rules, the bunker can't be used for the ensuing play-the-ball and can only go back to when the ball cleared the ruck.

However Michael Ennis argued that the on-field referee should have spotted the clear indiscretion.

“We don’t need the bunker, we don’t need that,” he said. “That’s the referees job, he’s missed it, we move on.”

Melbourne Storm still looking clunky

In the end the scoreline flattered the Storm, who looked a shadow of the team that piled on 162 points in three games earlier in the season.

Munster scored a try in each half and set up another, answering critics who questioned his patchy form in recent weeks in heavy losses to Penrith and North Queensland.

The Storm's attack otherwise looked disjointed, with their spine undergoing yet another change with hooker Harry Grant suffering a match-eve injury to join fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen on the sidelines.

But Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was happy with the performance by his second-placed side..

"We competed really well and didn't seem to panic and showed a lot of patience," Bellamy said.

"I thought we were pretty dominant in the first half; we left a couple of tries out there.

"I really liked the way we started the second half - we had plenty of intent about our running and the desire with our defence.

'It's a nice way to start the weekend."

with AAP

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