Paul Gallen and Phil Gould in fiery TV clash over 'absolute rubbish' NRL decision

The Channel 9 commentators don't agree on the controversial call in the Manly and Parramatta game.

Paul Gallen and Phil Gould have once again butted heads in an on-air clash about the controversial decision to deny Manly a try against Parramatta. The Sea Eagles thought they'd scored after Tom Trbojevic made a break and set up Tolu Kuola for a try on Sunday, before the Bunker intervened.

The Bunker official found that Jake Trbojevic had stopped in the defensive line and prevented Luca Moretti from sliding across to fill the hole that Tom Trbojevic poured through - a decision that was ticked off by NRL head of football Graham Annesley on Monday. But Moretti's lack of effort left much to be desired, and a number of commentators felt he had no chance of tackling Trbojevic anyway.

Phil Gould and Paul Gallen on Channel 9.
Phil Gould and Paul Gallen didn't see eye-to-eye. Image: Channel 9

Gould was in commentary for Channel 9 at the time and described the decision to disallow the try as "terrible". But under the rules, Jake Trbojevic was in the wrong and it didn't really matter whether Moretti would have stopped brother Tom or not.

Paul Gallen says Bunker official got the call right

Discussing the situation on '100% Footy' on Monday night, Gallen sided with the officials. “I heard everything Gus and Joey (Andrew Johns) said on the call yesterday and I absolutely agree with every single part of it - including the part where they said Jake Trbojevic stopped in the line,” Gallen said.

“You can’t stop in the line. You just can’t stop in the line. Moretti is looking for an excuse there, I have no doubt he’s looking for an excuse. I agree with Gus, he probably doesn’t get there.

"But the fact is, if Jake Trbojevic completed his job, went through the line like he’s supposed to do, Moretti doesn’t have the opportunity to find an excuse and that is exactly what he found, an excuse, because Jake Trbojevic stopped in the line and we all know you can’t stop in the line. It is quite simply not a try."

Jake Trbojevic stopped in the defensive line and prevented Luca Moretti from sliding across. Image: Channel 9
Jake Trbojevic stopped in the defensive line and prevented Luca Moretti from sliding across. Image: Channel 9

Phil Gould left fuming over NRL 'embarrassment'

But Gould wouldn't accept that explanation. “You want me to respond to that rubbish? That is rubbish,” Gould shot back. "He had absolutely no intention of chasing that play. None whatsoever. Jake stopped short of the line actually and he walked over and patted him on the back to say ‘I’ve got you’."


Gallen fired back: “If he doesn’t stop in the line, he has no reason for an excuse. I remember Joey spoke moments before that saying we’d had about five minutes of play which means their heart rates must absolutely be red-lining. And they would have been. And he said, good players just find a way to get through it. Moretti found an excuse. There was an excuse for him and he went and found that excuse and ran into Jake Trbojevic and got the penalty.

"You know whose fault it was? If Jake wasn’t there, it doesn’t happen. Jake is as honest as the day is long, if you asked Jake if he should have stopped in the lin, I guarantee you he‘ll answer ‘I shouldn’t have, I should have got through’."

But Gould still wasn't happy, saying: “That is an embarrassment to our code. That is an embarrassment to refereeing. That is an embarrassment to the people who make the rules and enforce the rules. I have stopped listening to the Monday report about whether it is right or wrong because they get all of that wrong too. That is an embarrassment. To anyone who supports this decision - it’s embarrassing. Embarrassing!”

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Annesley rejected suggestions Moretti had made an insufficient attempt to bypass Jake Trbojevic and make the tackle on Tom. "The Parramatta player had no option to avoid the contact because Jake had stopped right in his path," he said.