'How the hell': Phil Gould erupts over embarrassing NRL farce

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, rugby league commentator Phil Gould.
Phil Gould is at a loss to explain the Bunker's latest high-profile gaffe. Pic: Getty

Rugby league commentator Phil Gould is struggling to comprehend how Bunker officials got it so horribly wrong over the weekend.

In one of the worst decisions of recent memory, the Sharks were awarded what proved to be a crucial try against the Dragons on Saturday night, after a clear and obvious mistake by the video officials.

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Bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea were stood down for Sunday's clash between Penrith and Gold Coast after Saturday night's botched call that saw Jack Williams wrongly awarded a try against the Dragons.

The pair looked at just two replays before awarding the Cronulla froward a try in their four-point win over St George Illawarra.

Williams almost gave himself away when he got up shaking his head, before further replays clearly showed Dragons fullback Matt Dufty grounded the ball first.

A decision was made in just 28 seconds, in line with a directive for the video officials to speed up their decision-making process.

However, that should obviously never come at the expense of getting the call right and Gould simply cannot understand how the wrong decision was made on Saturday night.

“How the hell did they get that wrong the other night?” Gould said on Channel Nine’s Final Whistle.

“I mean honestly, of all the things the Bunker should get right, it’s who grounded the ball first. That’s the easy one — that’s why the Bunker was put there!

“They’ve invented a million other things for the Bunker to do which they shouldn’t be doing. They interfere too much. The referees use them too much.

“They make too many subjective decisions that they just can’t do. They haven’t got the knowledge to do it.

“But who got their hand first to the ball? That’s the easy one. If you’re not getting the easy ones right — get out. Go. Gone. Finished. We’ll live with the mistakes. We’ll go with the referee,” he said.

“That’s the one you should get right. That’s why they built the Bunker. That’s why we have a video referee in the first place.

“How hard is that?”

The Sharks try was the latest in a series of botched calls by the Bunker this year, and NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fitter says pressure on the officials to make quick decisions will inevitably lead to mistakes.

Seen here, Dragons coach Paul McGregor and the controversial Bunker decision to award Cronulla a try.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor was left fuming by the Sharks' controversial try. Pic: Fox Sports

"I reckon, there is so much pressure on the video refs to not only get it right but to do it quickly," Fittler said on Nine's Footy Show.

"And it drives you mad as a viewer. I don't know where the balance is. You might cop these every now and then and I feel sorry for (Dragons coach Paul McGregor).

"It's a bad miss.

"But there is pressure to do it quickly and there is pressure to get it right. Every now and then you are going to get it wrong.

"Obviously he has done it too hastily."

Axing of officials little consolation to Dragons

The demotion of Clark and Galea was the first time in memory such a call had been made mid-round following a decision.

Regardless, the axing would have been of no consolation to McGregor, who was highly critical of the bunker's call post-game.

“Pretty clear right?” McGregor said. “How do they keep getting it wrong and who’s accountable for it? Because it’s a stuff up but in the end, there’s the difference.

“What can I do? I think the person probably watching this and you guys (journalists) should make a song and dance and do something about it because it’s not good enough.”

Having found themselves down 14 points midway through the second half, McGregor's side also blew two late opportunities to steal the victory.

Fullback Dufty was adamant he had beaten Williams to the ball.

"The boys asked me when it went to video ref, 'Did you get it down?' I said, '100 per cent I got it down'," he said.

"Coach told me after the game that yeah I grounded it first.

"I said I thought I did. And even after they awarded the try, I was pretty shocked, I asked for a challenge, but he said it was a video ref so it wouldn't work."

with AAP