The list of reasons why NRL fans should fume over Tigers 'robbery'

·4-min read
Seen here, Wests Tigers players react with shock after their controversial loss against the Cowboys.
Many NRL fans insist the Wests Tigers were 'robbed' of victory in the controversial match against the Cowboys. Pic: AAP


The words "disgraceful" and "robbed" were trending on Twitter within an hour of the West Tigers finding themselves on the wrong end of one of rugby league's greatest injustices.

The adjective trending in this columnist's mind was "angry" after watching the bunker hand-deliver North Queensland an undeserved one-point win with a penalty decision so bad it's brought threats of legal action against the NRL.

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I was angry for those Tigers fans who made the long and expensive trip to Townsville in the hope of seeing a miracle, only to be denied a lifelong memory by the worst call I can recall in more than 30 years of watching and reporting on this game.

There was also anger on behalf of the thousands of Tigers fans watching on TV as their club – the subject of endless jokes, memes and leaks and sackings – finally looked like enjoying a moment to savour.

How could you not be angry for 300-game man Jimmy Tamou?

The big man with the Easter Island looks who gives his all each and every week and was one second away from celebrating his milestone with a win for the ages in front of family and friends.

Anger too for stand-in coach Ben Gardiner, robbed of a win in his first – and, maybe, only – NRL game in charge.

How about the teams around the top four?

You reckon they might be angry one of their rivals was gifted a precious two points? Two points that will have a massive bearing on finals placings.

Punters don’t normally deserve too much sympathy – we all know what we're getting ourselves in for when we push the 'submit bet' button – but today there is anger for those who lost out on some decent hard-earned after taking the $9 on offer for the Tigers.

Same deal for those in tipping comps who went out on a limb and tipped the Tigers, trying hard to ignore the laugher coming from the "experts" in accounts.

But do you want to know the part that makes me the angriest?

That's reserved for those running the sport who have somehow managed to complicate a relatively simple game – one we all love - and turn it into something most of us can no longer recognise.

Pictured left, a shattered Wests Tigers player after the last-second defeat to the Cowboys.
Wests Tigers players and fans were shattered after the last-second defeat to the Cowboys. Pic: AAP/Fox Sports

Concerns bunker is ruining NRL

The bunker has such an influence now that you look for reasons why they will take a try off a team instead of enjoying the try itself.

Defenders who are a million to one to stop an attacking raid throw themselves at a defender like a groupie latching onto a lead singer, knowing there's a chance they will red-light the four-pointer.

Any hit that strays anywhere near the head you wonder if the defender will be A/penalised B/sin-binned C/ sent off or D/ escape on-field penalty only to be cited the next day and hit with a potential 2-3 game ban.

And just when you thought you'd seen it all, the bunker takes it to the next level and for some reason is called on to rule on a possible escort by Tigers winger Asu Kepaoa as the Cowboys, a point behind, kicked off with a second left on Sunday night.

No-one can properly explain why the bunker became involved in the first place but, leaving that aside for a moment, how in the hell did video ref Ashley Klein not take a couple of looks and swipe left?

Anyone who has watched or played the game knows there was no intent from Kepaoa to interfere with Kyle Feldt.

It was the other way around, if anything.

Feldt threw his last ten dollars on red 23 and was stunned as anyone when it came up, allowing his team to escape with a vitally important win.

It makes you wonder where the game goes from here.

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