Vision has emerged of a furious Des Hasler demanding answers from the NRL over the controversial sin bin to Jake Trbojevic that turned the tide in Manly’s semi-final defeat to the Rabbitohs.
Hasler claims his side were dudded in their 34-26 defeat to South Sydney on Friday night.
The Sea Eagles let a 26-20 lead slip in the final 13 minutes of Friday's match to lose by eight points, after Trbojevic was binned for holding Dane Gagai back in a Rabbitohs break.
The call infuriated coach Hasler, who spoke with NRL's head of football Graham Annesley after the match to question the professional foul sin-bin.
"Was there issues about the game? Yep. I think there was," Hasler said.
"Do I think we were dudded? Yep, we've been dudded.
"It was a bit tough. Was it a penalty? I don't mind the penalty. I can handle a penalty. Does he deserve to get sent off? No.
"It makes the loss a little more difficult, but we could have managed it all better."
Manly legend Paul Vautin labelled the decision "bonkers" in commentary, while infuriated captain Daly Cherry-Evans on the field questioned referee Gerard Sutton on how it was a "clear" professional foul.
The controversial decision proved particularly divisive for fans.
I have never seen a more horrendous call than that Jake Trbojevic sin bin. Disgraceful! #NRLSouthsManly— Mitch Phillips Ⓥ (@mitch_phillips) September 20, 2019
WHAT AN ABSOLUTE JOKE! Jake Trbojevic barely touched him! Please tell me how that’s a sin bin? #NRLSouthsManly— Joshua Louder (@JoshuaLouder) September 20, 2019
The Jake Trbojevic sin bin was the turning point.— The Oracle (@BigOtrivia) September 20, 2019
Been wanting to use this word all year ...the definition of DISCOMBOBULATING https://t.co/zvrbFtDugN
Circumstances beyond their control. Trbojevic should not have been binned.— John Rheinberger (@RheinbergerJohn) September 20, 2019
Trbojevic cost them the game not the referees— Carl (@rugbyleaguekiwi) September 20, 2019
I am okay with Jake Trbojevic's sin bin. Cody Walker's much softer, victim of getting rid of the biff. In a previous era, a blatant trip was a send off. Not sure why Hasler is furious...#NRLSouthsManly#NRLFinals— Matt Pritchard (@MattPNBL) September 20, 2019
Refs did get it right fans are being salty for no reason trbojevic had a brain snap and cost his side a player for 10 which allowed rabbits to get in front— Lucas (@lord_squarehead) September 20, 2019
Jake Trbojevic lost them the game. Sad, bad but true.— Giannis Kataskevastis (@kataskevastis) September 20, 2019
Hasler also queried the game's 9-3 penalty count against his side, but had no issue with a centre Brad Parker also being sin-binned in the second half for a blatant trip on James Roberts.
But asked if he thought Manly would have won the game if Trbojevic hadn't been binned, Hasler said: "Of course we do, you know that.
"You don't have to ask me that.
"It's a bit of a lottery, isn't it. Ask the coaches who remain.
"But then again we were in a position a couple of times to win that game."
NRL insists refs got controversial call correct
Annesley defended the decision on Friday night, noting officials had been dropped last week for not sin-binning Canberra's Elliott Whitehead for a professional foul.
"It was a professional foul in a try-scoring situation," Annesley said.
"Last week I publicly criticised a referee for not using the sin-bin in similar circumstances.
"If Jake doesn't grab the support player, the consequences don't occur."
Souths coach Wayne Bennett also backed the on-field decision, as he claimed the precedent had been laid down all season.
"As teams and as players, you know it's on the cards these days, the sin bin's been used a lot more this year than any other year," Bennett said.
"I'm not opposed to it. You roll the dice. You don't touch the player, you don't run the interference the way you did, then you've got nothing to worry about.
"If you do, then you've got yourself no problem."
Bennett also said he had no issue with Cody Walker being sin-binned for a slap in a first-half melee, as part of a rule introduced into the NRL two seasons ago.