The Bunker has been taken to task in the NRL grand final after an adjudication on an obstruction call that left several experts baffled.
With Penrith holding an 18-0 lead at half-time, the first try of the second half loomed as a pivotal one, and it was the reigning premiers who extended their lead with Brian To’o’s second try of the night.
However, the try looked like it would be chalked off due to Viliame Kikau bowling over Mitch Moses in the lead-up.
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Despite the incident being termed as a « straightforward » obstruction call from Cameron Smith on commentary for Nine, referee Ashley Klein’s on-field call was a try due to his ruling that Moses made « a defensive decision », choosing to tackle Kikau.
The Bunker upheld Klein’s decision, leaving Smith, Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler all confused.
« That’s a penalty. Kikau doesn’t give Mitchell Moses the opportunity to go on the inside and slide, » Johns said on Nine’s coverage.
« All year that has been a no-try, and yet in the biggest game of the year we make it up and change it. »
« That one’s pretty black and white, it’s straightforward, » Smith added.
« Although he (Moses) may have played for it slightly, Kikau makes contact with his outside shoulder. This has been ruled against teams all year. It can’t be a try. »
« The players know they have to go to the inside shoulder, » Fittler said.
« You see Mitchell Moses, he was following the ball when he looked up to make the play when the ball was passed, Kikau was in front of him.
« He mightn’t have got to the ball, but what Kikau did was he got in the road and obstructed his view of what was happening on the outside, so he obstructed him. »
The try virtually ended any hopes of an Eels comeback, with Charlie Staines adding another try 13 minutes later to rub salt in the Parramatta wound.
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