Startling new footage emerges in State of Origin clock controversy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
NSW, pictured here with a huge overlap in the dying stages of State of Origin I. Image: Channel Nine
NSW had a huge overlap had they have been able to get one final play. Image: Channel Nine

New footage has shown why NSW were so desperate to get one final play in before the full-time siren in State of Origin I.

Controversy erupted on Wednesday night when it looked as though referee Gerard Sutton had blown full-time early.

UPDATE: NRL launch investigation into Boyd Cordner furore

‘NO RESPECT’: Channel Nine savaged over 'disgusting' moment

Sutton’s whistle blew with the Channel Nine game clock showing two seconds left, however the NRL later moved to explain that the broadcast clock is not the official clock.

Fans and commentators were also left seething that Sutton didn’t penalise Queensland when five players jumped on a tackled James Tedesco to slow down the play and make sure the Blues didn’t get one final roll of the dice.

And new footage unearthed by Wide World of Sports shows why the Blues should feel hard done by.

With five players committed to the Tedesco tackle, NSW had a massive overlap out wide.

Had Tedesco been allowed to play the ball, the Blues had nine players to attack with compared to just six Queensland defenders.

Felise Kaufusi had already been sin-binned on the previous play, meaning NSW would have had a golden opportunity to snatch the game on the final play.

However Sutton called full-time and Queensland won 18-14.

On Thursday an NRL statement provided to the Sydney Morning Herald explained the discrepancy between the Channel Nine clock and Sutton’s full-time whistle.

“The way time is kept in all games for several years now is the time keeper has a direct audio link to the referee's ear-piece,” Graham Annesley said.

“With 10 seconds to go the timekeeper gives the referee a 10 second warning. At five seconds another warning then verbally counts down until full time.

“The referee calls full-time off that, not the siren or the scoreboard timer.

“The whistle from Sutton wasn’t blown prior to the timekeeper audibly saying to him ‘full time’.”

Five Queensland players, pictured here on the James Tedesco tackle.
Five Queensland players had committed to slowing down the play the ball. Image: Channel Nine

Annesley also dismissed concerns Sutton called full-time while the ball was in play.

“The players don’t stop until they hear the whistle, but playing on after the timekeeper tells the referee full time is not something that should happen either,” he added.

“The time had expired before the ball is played. All the whistle does is stop the game.

“But the fact is time had expired before the ball had been played.”

Controversy erupts over final-play farce

Nevertheless, many were still left gobsmacked that NSW weren’t awarded a penalty.

“With a couple of seconds to go there was about five Queensland Maroons basically giving away the penalty waiting for the clock to run down,” Queensland great Cooper Cronk said.

“Gerard Sutton should have blown a penalty and given NSW maybe two seconds to set up for one play because that was an infringement that needed to be pulled up.

“Sutton should have - and I don’t want to say this because I’m a Queenslander - should have blown the penalty and stopped the game because having five people in a tackle like that hardly ever happens.

“So that tells me it’s intentional, and should have given NSW one shot at glory to see if they can win it.”

Gerard Sutton, pictured here signalling 10 minutes in the sin bin for Felise Kaufusi.
Gerard Sutton signals 10 minutes in the sin bin for Felise Kaufusi. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

NRL 360 host Paul Kent slammed Sutton’s handling of the situation, declaring he should be stripped of refereeing duties for game two.

“Gerard Sutton needs to lose the game for the next game,” Kent said.

“He shouldn’t control Origin again after that. He totally lost it there.

“Kaufusi was just belligerent and refused to go off the field and pretended he didn’t know what was going on. Sutton should have got him off.

“And then in the last minute NSW actually passed the ball with time on the clock from dummy half. Then the siren rang with the ball in play and he whistled full-time. It doesn’t make sense.”

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