Penrith fans couldn’t believe their misfortune in the opening 10 minutes of the NRL grand final after the Storm were awarded a penalty try, before the Panthers were denied by the Bunker.
Controversy erupted in just the fourth minute when Justin Olam dived towards the Penrith line to finish off a sweeping Storm move.
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But the referee deemed Olam had lost the ball in the tackle over the line.
However, replays showed the Penrith defender Tyrone May used his outstretched leg to knock the ball loose.
“Tyrone May has used the foot to kick the ball out of the possession of Justin Olam,” Bunker offical Steve Chiddy said.
“In our opinion, we believe a try would have been scored.”
The Bunker awarded a penalty try for the first time in a grand final since 2003.
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“That’s incredible. I don’t know what Tyrone May could have done any differently there,” Gould said in Channel 9 commentary.
“It is not what I would call indiscriminate kicking but the referee ruled he’s played at the ball with his foot.
Early drama at the #NRLGF! Do you think that was a fair penalty try?
— Yahoo Sport Australia (@YahooSportAu) October 25, 2020
“It is illegal to play at the ball with your foot. That is a stunning start to this game. Stunning.”
But only three minutes later, Penrith were denied a try in a tight obstruction call when Josh Mansour crossed.
Fans divided over crazy NRL grand final start
Fans were torn on social media to whether the penalty try was the right call and were frustrated with the obstruction with another on-field referee call overturned.
— Sean Castle (@SeanCastle15) October 25, 2020
An arguable Penalty Try. A Disallowed try. Topped with some shocking calls by the referee. Can't get any worse for a 1st half (?) #NRLGF
— Miquel Tomàs (@miqueltoms) October 25, 2020
The NRL grand final for the panthers have had two terrible calls already, let the players play do not ruin the final cause of umpiring
— Alex (@ajjenkin35) October 25, 2020
I see how it is. Switching off. #NRLGrandFinal
— Cody Cruickshank (@CodyCruickshank) October 25, 2020
it was either a penalty try or 10 in the bin. Bunker had two options, they got the right one.
— Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) October 25, 2020