Phil Gould has taken aim at the referees after Tom Trbojevic was denied a try scoring opportunity against the Rabbitohs in the Manly Sea Eagles golden point loss. Manly went down 13-12 after Josh Aloiai put the ball down under the posts and gifted possession to the Rabbitohs in the first set of extra-time.
Then halfback Lachlan Ilias kicked the first field goal of his NRL career to sink Manly 13-12 and help the Rabbitohs to their second victory of the year. However, Manly fans were left incensed when the referee ruled Josh Schuster's pass to Trbojevic forward.
Brad Parker made a break down the left edge in the 31st minute of the first-half. He then passed to Schuster who broke the line before he was reeled in.
Schuster passed the back on the inside to Trbojevic, which appeared back out of the hands. An outstretched Trbojevic picked up the ball and was in open space - despite a number of Rabbitohs players in front of him - before referee Christ Sutton called play back for a forward pass.
"Well that is a wonderful try that has been denied and the Eagles are incensed,” Dane Ginnane said in Fox Sports commentary. NRL great Greg Alexander was disappointed with the call in real time.
“At no stage did I think there was a forward pass in that movement,” Alexander said. “No, no, no. No way was that forward, what is wrong? That’s a let off for Souths.”
The forward pass debate will surely ignite this week with fans left fuming over the incident. And Phil Gould was quick to slam the decision.
Gould took to social media and tweeted, "That's disgraceful," at the time of the incident. After the game he also blasted the evolution of the ruling in the modern game.
"120 years ago, when men first sat down to draw up rules for this game called rugby league, what was purpose of 'forward pass' rule? I would imagine that whatever their intention, they would never have envisaged that Manly pass tonight being adjudged as forward. So pedantic," he wrote.
Fans agreed with Gould and took aim at the controversial decision at 6-6 in the first-half.
120 years ago, when men first sat down to draw up rules for this game called rugby league, what was purpose of “forward pass” rule? I would imagine that whatever their intention, they would never have envisaged that Manly pass tonight being adjudged as forward. So pedantic.
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) March 25, 2023
Tough call for the Sea Eagles but seemingly the right one.
Ball thrown about 32 metres out, gathered 30 metres out.
50/50 call, appeared back out of the hands.#NRL #NRLSouthsManly pic.twitter.com/Qhf2VNdxC2
— Jack Blyth (@jblesfooty224) March 25, 2023
I tipped Souths but that wasn’t a forward pass..
— Timothy Webster (@Timothy46454956) March 25, 2023
That forward pass right? Terrible call. Why can't they review the forward passes? Becoming a joke when we can clearly see it, how can they not challenge and overturn it? About time that rule for forward passes changes...
— Michael Humoudi (@MHumoudi) March 25, 2023
No excuses, but I seriously think they were making up for the forward pass they missed two passes earlier.
— oneonethreeinvesting (@113investing) March 25, 2023
Do you think the #NRL should allow the bunker more power to overule a forward pass decision from the referee in the event it was a clean pass that leads to a try being scored? Overruling the decision and awarding the try #NRLSouthsManly
— HEAD COACH 23 (@Headcoach_23) March 25, 2023
Rabbitohs win extra-time thriller against Manly
The Rabbitohs and the crowd payed their respects to John Sattler and his family before the game on Saturday night after the legend's death earlier in the week.
Sattler's family was in attendance and co-owner Russell Crowe also at Accor Stadium on Saturday, as Ilias nailed a shot from 25 metres out in the third minute of golden point. The win allowed the Rabbitohs to go back to an even record of 2-2 as they consigned the Sea Eagles to their first loss of 2023.
Souths, wearing commemorative jerseys just days after Sattler's death on Monday at age 80, did it in a way that would have made their famous old boy proud. Missing six of their pack through injuries, they outlasted the Sea Eagles in a gruelling affair that befitted the club's most famous No.13.
Cameron Murray fought through 80 minutes in the No.13 despite appearing gassed from midway through the first half. Keaon Koloamatangi also played 78 minutes, with the vast majority of it spent in the middle after being moved there from the edge due to the injury crisis.
Within minutes of their win, the crowd fell silent as footage of Sattler's 1970 grand-final performance against Manly with a broken jaw played on the big screens. Souths coach Jason Demetriou agreed it was a special night for the team after such a sad event.
"Looking up at the scoreboard, at 13 points, obviously John's number," Demetriou said after the game. "To have his family here was pretty special.
"This is a massive effort for our club. We won eight games in our club today. That's a reflection to what Satts meant to the club. And for our club to win all the grades, it's a great tribute."
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