Brad Fittler lashes 'ridiculous' question after State of Origin II

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·Sports Reporter
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NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has bristled at suggestions his meetings with referees influenced the outcome of State of Origin II. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has bristled at suggestions his meetings with referees influenced the outcome of State of Origin II. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

NSW coach Brad Fittler has ridiculed a question posed to him about his meeting with referees boss Jared Maxwell prior to State of Origin II, after it was suggested he had influenced Felise Kaufusi's sin-binning.

Fittler met with the referees after the Blues' loss in Origin I to discuss several plays he believed had unfairly advantaged Queensland, with reports also suggesting he had also done so prior to the series starting.

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Kaufusi's sin-binning was a crucial turning point in Origin II, with NSW seizing momentum as the Maroons began to tire due to the man disadvantage.

Eagle-eyed fans actually noticed Kaufusi was back on the field roughly a minute and a half before the 10 minutes had elapsed, but it mattered little in the end as the Blues ran away to a 44-12 victory.

The Maroons forward had been sent off following three infringements in a brief period of play, with Klein having seen enough and sent him to the sin bin in a move that angered Queensland fans.

Fittler, in an appearance on Channel 9's 100% Footy, was asked whether his meeting with the referees had an influence on Klein's sin bin decision.

“Freddy there was a big moment in the game just before halftime the sin-binning of Felise Kaufusi,” the host asked.

“Do you think your comments after game one and the meeting with the referees contributed at all to the decision by Ashley Klein to send Kaufusi to the sin bin?”

The Blues coach bristled at the question, writing it off quickly and pointing out the quick succession of penalties that preceded Klein's decision.

“Seriously? You have got (the replay) on TV now, it is ridiculous," he said.

“And just before that there was a penalty and two six agains, so no I don’t think so at all.

“I think we lost the penalties as well.

“We had slower play-the-balls in the stats I got back, so at the end of the day I don’t know how much leverage I got there.”

State of Origin clock dramas emerge after Kaufusi sin-bin

Channel Nine footage showed Kaufusi getting his marching orders as the clock neared 39:00 in the match, but returning to the field at the 47:24 mark.

That means he only spent around eight and a half minutes of actual game time in the bin, rather than the full 10 minutes.

Speaking on NRL 360 on Monday night, Paul Kent explained that because NSW scored in the final seconds of the half, Nathan Cleary took the conversion after the clock had hit 40:00.

The clock was sitting on 40:00 for about a minute while Cleary took the kick, which counted towards Kaufusi's time in the sin-bin.

“It looked like about a minute, 40 seconds had disappeared from his sin bin,” Kent said.

“Now we chased it up with (NRL football boss) Graham Annesley and he said because they scored and the kick went after the half-time bell, that’s where the (time) went.

“So for whatever reason, that 1:40, even though it was not part of the game time, it was part of Kaufusi’s sin bin.”

Felise Kaufusi's sin-binning was a pivotal moment in State of Origin II, with NSW seizing momentum thereafter. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Felise Kaufusi's sin-binning was a pivotal moment in State of Origin II, with NSW seizing momentum thereafter. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Kent said the bigger issue for the game might be the fact that a three-clock system is still being utilised.

“But this is my issue, and Todd Greenberg spoke about this when he ran the game,” Kent added.

“If you remember, years ago, there was another disruption in the clock and at the time we sat back we said we’ve got a game clock (run by officials), we’ve got a broadcast clock (on TV) and we’ve also got a ground clock (on the scoreboard).

“This is so basic, and we nearly got there last night with this, but it’s so basic I don’t know why they don’t fix it. This is this is dead set from the 1950s.”

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