Paul Kent rips into 'disappointing' NRL Bunker over 'abysmal' display
The veteran reporter was left fuming at the Bunker over the calls on the weekend.
Veteran NRL reporter Paul Kent has let rip at the Bunker and its interventions in the opening two rounds and called for the NRL to 'blow up' the system. The NRL announced the Bunker would intervene less in 2023 and only stop on-field play if the referees believed it was a reportable incident.
However, the Bunker intervened in the 75th minute in the Dolphins and Raiders clash when Sean O'Sullivan was sent to the sin bin. The halfback made contact with Cory Harawira-Naera after he put a grubber through the line. The initial decision appeared harsh with no malice involved in the fast-paced collision.
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And on Fox Sports' NRL 360, reporter Paul Crawley blasted the decision of the Bunker to intervene and make such a crucial decision. "It was a shocking call," Crawley said.
"The Bunker told us all summer that they were going to stay out of incidents on the field unless they thought it was a reportable offence that was going to earn a charge. Well if you thought that was a reportable offence, you’ve got rocks in your head.”
While Crawley was frustrated, Kent went one step further and labelled the intervention of the Bunker as 'abysmal' in the first two rounds. He called for an overhaul to be made to the system.
"Some of their decisions have been abysmal, in all manner of things. Tries they’ve allowed, a lot of the captain’s challenges - I don’t know what they’re looking at," Kent said.
"The fact is they have to have some football smarts in the Bunker, they’ve got to be able to recognise a dive or a player legitimately being taken out. And I know the players put it on a little bit but they’ve got to have the smarts to make a call. Blow the bunker up.”
Wayne Bennet disagrees with sin bin calls
Despite the controversial sin bin call, coach Wayne Bennett labelled the Dophins a "special team" as they defied the conditions and a 12-point deficit to beat Canberra 20-14.
They prevailed in driving rain at Kayo Stadium despite trailing 12-0 when hooker Jeremy Marshall-King was sin-binned late in the second half. Hero fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow jumped on a loose ball to score before the break though, then the Dolphins gritted their teeth and defended for an enthralling 25 minutes.
Bennett disagreed with both second-half sin-bins as Marshall-King also spent time on the touchline after he was placed on report for a hip-drop tackle on Corey Horsburgh. But the Dolphins became just the third team, after Brisbane - who Bennett also coached - and Melbourne, to win their first two NRL games.
"Only special teams can do those types of things," he said. "Just refusing to give in; some of the players we bought knew had those qualities, that's the basis of it all. Leaders lead and others follow them and that's what we're doing."
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