Brad Fittler lashes Queensland over 'ridiculous' act that went unseen

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Brad Fittler, pictured here speaking to the media after State of Origin III.
Brad Fittler has slammed Queensland's 'ridiculous' act late in State of Origin III. Image: Channel Nine

NSW coach Brad Fittler has continued his attack on Gerard Sutton, highlighting three incidents he believes the referee got wrong in State of Origin III.

Fittler was fuming about Sutton's performance after the series finale on Wednesday night, and has since aimed fresh complaints about the NRL's head whistleblower.

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In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday, Fittler outlined incidents in the second, 63rd and 79th minutes that left him particularly furious.

The first was when Fittler believed Latrell Mitchell was pushed in the back while attempting to catch a bomb.

Dane Gagai instead regathered the ball and Queensland went on to take a 2-0 lead after receiving a fresh set of six.

The second incident, which Fittler already highlighted in his post-match comments, was a Kalyn Ponga fumble that Fittler believed was a knock-on in the lead-up to a Queensland try that extended their lead to 20-12.

And the third incident that went unnoticed from Sutton and fans alike was when Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans took a step towards Mitchell as he was attempting a kick at goal that would have levelled the score at 20-20.

Cherry-Evans could be seen stepping towards Mitchell in an apparent attempt to put him off, with Fittler of the opinion that he actually encroached the 10 metres that defenders must give opposing kickers.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui could also be seen jumping and raising his arms as Mitchell kicked the ball, both of which are illegal and can result in a kick being retaken.

Damien Cook, pictured here speaking to Gerard Sutton during State of Origin III.
Damien Cook speaks to Gerard Sutton during State of Origin III. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Brad Fittler fumes over 'ridiculous' Queensland act

“They were all 50-50 decisions on Wednesday night, but we didn’t get any of them,” Fittler told the Herald.

“Gerard Sutton has done a great job, he’s now refereed the most State of Origins, but when you do that the role gets reviewed as much as the players’ and coaches’ role - you’re held to higher standards.

“There was that knock-on by Ponga which has always been a knock-on since I was five-years old and started playing.

“Latrell was pushed in the back when the ball was in the air, which led to Queensland’s first penalty goal. It should have been a penalty for us.

“And I was pretty disappointed with the manner they were inside the 10 metres as Latrell lined up the final kick of the game.

“We have the strongest referee in the competition, he should have had control of the Queensland players, otherwise give Latrell another kick. It was ridiculous."

Speaking to Channel Nine immediately after the Maroons' 20-18 victory that prevented NSW from completing a rare series clean-sweep, Fittler expressed his frustrations.

“There was a few decisions I thought were pretty dodgy, I wasn’t happy with,” Fittler said.

“I thought the Ponga one on the right-hand side before the try, I thought that was a knock-on. I thought before the goal kick Latrell got pushed in the back.

“I haven’t seen the replay but when I first saw the knock-on I thought that was an obvious call.”

Former NSW coach Phil Gould also lashed the referee in commentary during the game.

“Someone needs to go down and knock on the referee’s door and tell him he’s not the main attraction here this evening, he’s been way too overzealous with the penalties,” Gould said at half-time.

“Let the players decide the result.”

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