The Cumberland Throw

Whisky Musings – Round 19: A Treatise On Refs, Royalty & Righteous Victory

The NRL is fake. Every result is fixed. Every game is scripted. Vince McMahon sits in gorilla at every game calling the shots live. The Eels only completed their fairytale run to a breakthrough title in 2009 because the NRL desperately wanted to cash in on the hype and mania of one of the greatest underdog runs across all codes. Oh wait…maybe things aren’t quite as written in stone as this weekend’s hysteria may have everyone believing.

Move aside Melbourne and the #CaM00 juggernaut, nick off you decaf soy latte sipping Roosters and excuse me while I revel in our newfound status as the biggest heels in rugby league. Following a game where both the Parramatta Eels and the New Zealand Warriors were on the receiving end of a number of poor calls and missed calls that changed the flow of the match, it was Parramatta that emerged as public enemies numero uno.

The Eels have drawn plenty of public ire for finishing the game as the beneficiaries of a lopsided penalty count, some poorly officiated strip penalties and a forward pass call that frankly speaking was probably on the mark. Never mind that this is a match where the rot started with two obnoxious missed knocked calls that massively benefited the Warriors by way of Isaac Luke scoring.

Indeed the media narrative has been so fierce and deliberate that you would be forgiven that there was actually a pretty good game played by both teams behind all the drama. And to cap things off I am debuting my amazing new technological breakthrough that converts sodium chloride to a new fangled thing called moving pictures. The results are truly amazing I must say.

Disclaimer – On the off chance there are any neutrals reading this obvious (and frankly quite shitty) op-ed, this is a Parramatta fan site and I will only be highlighting things that impacted the Eels. I freely admit the Warriors copped bad calls, feel free to make videos or GIFS of those things if that is your prerogative.

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-narellan

Is there officially an official crisis?

Let’s get this festering pile of shit over with. Despite respectable calls for reason and understanding for officials by the likes of Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk after the fallout from the weekend, I honestly do believe the NRL has an officiating problem. Rugby league is truly one of the most difficult codes to officiate, even if the rules are relatively simple, due to the frenetic pace and intensity of the game and in that respect everyone needs to allow for a certain amount of human error.

With that said, inconsistent ruck standards, annual opening month crackdowns that shortly fade away, annual reactive mid-season officiating trends and general interpretations that show no consistency from game-to-game let alone from round-to-round are all over-arching issues that are impacting the game on a macro level.

I know I don’t have the answers but then again I am not getting paid six-figures by the NRL to devote my time to the answer. At this point we all know that any system, no matter how well implemented will still generate public outcry where there is inevitably a breakdown leading to a bad call.

Do we need more technology? There is talk about introducing Hawk-Eye technology into the NRL while the powers of the video-referee can always be increased. Or perhaps do we need more officials? Would having 2 touch-judges on each sideline (four total with one official dedicated to each team on both sidelines) help police offside defenders and forward passes more consistently? Maybe, or maybe it adds to many voices to the mix.

Fundamentally though, there is a depth issue when it comes to officiating in the NRL. Anyone that has attended the various iterations of reserve grade in recent years will attest to you that the standards there are no better. Fixing the officiating problems in the NRL starts there.

 

Bad Calls Supercut

With all that said, I am not above having a good old-fashioned whinge about the bad calls that impacted the Eels – doubly so in light of the concerted fan and media narrative that the Warriors were the only team hurt by the officials in that game. So here we go!

What is there to really say about this one? That is called a knock on every game, every round, every year…except for Round 19 at Bankwest Stadium it would seem. This particular missed call leads right on in to our next GIF where Isaac Luke crashes over from close range in dubious circumstances of his own.

I imagine there are plenty of Warriors fans that will defend this one but I am sorry, that is a knock on and I absolutely would not have been upset if the Eels had a try taken away under similar circumstances. This of course leveled the scores as 12-all and pivoted momentum hugely at a point where the Eels were in control of the game.

First off, we need to talk about Mitch Moses and his kick chase on the weekend. I will drop another GIF later on that highlights another terrific chase but his off-the-ball work was phenomenal and he absolutely led the way forward for his team there. Secondly, the touch judge needs to be commended in one regard here on getting the call right regarding Ken Maumalo staying in the field of play. There is a blade of grass in it but I think that he got it bang on.

I do however have a big question mark about whether Maumalo knocked on as he and Moses roll over the ball through the tackle. Referees almost always ping a player anything they pin the ball to the ground in an attempt to maintain possession and the Warriors likely dodged a bullet here. It is hard to isolate here in the GIF there is a split second where the ball pops up between Moses’ legs before both players roll over towards the sideline. A tough call but a missed one nonetheless.

Amusingly, this is a case of one wrong leading to two more. This takes place immediately after the incorrect 1-on-1 strip call where Dylan Brown was dispossessed and resulted in Clinton Gutherson taking not one but two attempts at quick tap – firstly from the strip penalty and then here after Daniel Alvaro was hit high. In both cases Gutherson was right on the spot of the infringement and especially in the second case he could not have been any closer to the mark itself.

Yet neither time was he allowed to play on despite being outside of 10m of the goal line and neither infringement resulting from an offside defender. Both quick tap attempts saw Gutherson impeded by offside defenders so even if the original call was incorrect against them, the Warriors were very lucky not to have a player in the sin bin in the wake of it all.

Chanel Harris Tevita, who had proven to be a craft proponent of the 1-on-1 strip in this particular game absolutely got away with a penalty here in a tackle where Tepai Moeroa was clearly in safe possession of the ball before it miraculously pops out. If you peep carefully you see Harris Tevita rake the ball out with his left hand and the officials should know better here. Anytime a ball comes flying out late in tackle like this, there is more than likely a cheeky defender at play.

And here we see two obvious ruck penalties ignored by the officials with Lachlan Burr clearly making a second effort to drag Clinton Gutherson back while Maika Sivo was deadset assaulted like cracked out koala bear by Gerard Beale in one of the most simple ruck penalties you will ever see.

Yes the penalty count was lopsided towards the Eels in something of a truly rare occurrence but the Warriors were damn lucky the penalty differential wasn’t blown out more. They regularly rode a very generous leash given on held calls to drive Parramatta ball-carriers backwards once a tackle was completed and as you can see above, also got away with plenty of extra-curricular work on the ground.

Am I being obnoxiously critical of the officials in the above GIFs? Certainly. In nearly any other week most of those calls barring the two knock-ons resulting in Luke’s try you wear on the chin, grumble a bit and move on. But in a week where there has been a barrage of articles and outcries about how the Warriors were hard done by, take a second to consider that both teams wore some dud calls.

 

Royalty reigns as Eels carve out sovereign territory

While Blake Ferguson has earned a reputation for making the big time plays this season he is now out indefinitely after suffering an adverse reaction to antibiotics. In his continued absence on the weekend Clinton Gutherson and Mitchell Moses stepped up to provide the Eels with the poise and chutzpah needed to guide their team home to victory.

Fox commentary dubbed them the King and the Prince and their royal connection was on display in some clutch moments including a forced line drop out and a sensational length of the field try that on any other day would be play of the game (one Maika Sivo had other ideas though!).

Gutherson also nabbed a gorgeous try assist when he put Ethan Parry over, making it two tries in two game for the rookie winger, while Moses kicked strongly in general play for the most part. There was one passage of play in the first half mind you where the officials lost track of the tackle count and made a very late call to indicate it was the last which resulted in a bizarre sequence of play down our right edge culminating in a hurried kick from Moses.

The other area where Moses continues to excel is from the kicking tee as the budding sharpshooter notched 4/5 dead-ball attempts with his sole miss barely missing right from out wide.

Parramatta’s tireless custodian in the meantime got a little slice of redemption at the back after he was embarrassed by a high flying Tom Trbojevic last week. With the scores locked up at 12-all, Gutherson met Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the high-point of the contested catch and tore the ball away from him like a desperate parent at a department store battling tooth and nail for the last toy in stock on Christmas Eve.

 

[INSERT SPECTACULAR PHRASE #1031] Nathan Brown

Seriously though, how good is Nathan Brown? Week after week he is churning out big numbers on both sides of the ball and on Saturday afternoon he made a point of single-handedly trying to end a rally by the Warriors with a string of brutal shots in defence. The bloke is definitely pushing his name up the rungs of the lock forward pantheon.

 

The fend heard from outer space

This one is going to be on highlight reels forever I hope in the way that Greg Inglis and Jamie Soward are forever destined live on immortalised for the monstrous fend that sent Soward flying.

In one of the most devastating displays of power and explosive athleticism, Maika Sivo fended off Blake Ayshford so hard that his kids will likely be born with a hand-shaped birthmark on their chests.

If you ever find yourself falling out of love with the game, it is plays like this that help highlight why rugby league is indeed one of the greatest sports in the world.

 

The tackle that had a million hearts in a million mouths

Not happy to be simply confined to a brilliant offensive play, Sivo also produced a ripper of a hit on ‘RTS’ to force an error. I deadset went through the seven stages of grief in one minute afterwards though as trainers attended the Fijian powerhouse and administered an anterior draw test for an ACL or PCL injury. Thankfully the rookie star was able to play out the rest of the game.

 

Right idea, wrong personnel?

There was a little bit of confusion at the resumption of the second half as Reed Mahoney failed to take the field. Fans immediately reached for the panic button before it was revealed that Brad Arthur had made a tactical substitution to spell his rake. Clinton Gutherson deputised Reed in the meantime and while I actually like the idea of giving Mahoney a prolonged break by substituting him either before or after half-time, it does beg the question – why implement this now the week you finally drop Jaeman Salmon?

As I said, really like the idea but the timing of it all does leave me scratching my head a bit.

 

Welcome to the big leagues, kid

I don’t even what Ethan Parry went through on Saturday. Nor do I envy the recovery session he would have endured following the game. The rookie went to war on Saturday and wore plenty of punishing hits as he shouldered the burden that comes with replacing Blake Ferguson. Parry battled his way to 165m from 16 carries and notched his second try in just his second game but the Warriors certainly let him know what it means to be a first-grader.

To his credit he never shirked the hard work and while he did spill a couple of high balls in the second half, the contests for said catches were more than a bit messy.

He also wasn’t quite in sync with Waqa Blake when it came to goal line defence but that is to be expected when you pair a rookie winger with a club debutante out on the right edge.

 

The Final Word

Don’t let all the drama and media narrative dissuade you – this was a good win by the Eels. Both teams came to play on Saturday afternoon and subsequently ripped into each other. Parramatta have been on the receiving ends of more than a handful of howlers that have cost them dearly in recent years and the consensus reply from neutral has always been ‘well you should be better than letting one or two calls beat you’.

It was a mixed bag of results across the NRL for the Eels in Round 19. While our grip on the Top 8 was strengthened with losses to Penrith and Newcastle, an upset victory by Manly over the Storm and the Canberra victory over the aforementioned Panthers puts a potential Top 4 berth that much further out of grasp.

As always though, the focus must be on next week as the Eels travel to face the struggling Dragons. Peni Terepo will be back from suspension while Shaun Lane could be a chance to return from a lacerated finger to add some intrigue to this afternoon’s Team List Tuesday.

 

Credit to Fox Sports NRL for all images and GIFs used. Said images and GIFs have been reproduced for review on The Cumberland Throw under Fair Dealing.

35
Click Here to Reply ...

avatar
15 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
RowdyGreg OkladnikovPouMiloparrathruandthru Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Parra Pete
Guest
Parra Pete

If the match officials from the Warriors match were appointed to every Parramatta match at Cumberland Oval (aka Bankwest Stadium) it would be packed every time..

DDay
Guest
DDay

What a great analysis piece Forty. Such a shame that a good game has been overlooked in an attempt to create drama by the media. I’m sure if you looked hard enough there’d be referring errors in every game, “it truely is a difficult code to officate”. I think the referring was broadly good and facilated an open game with a low penalty count 9-2 (ave I guess is 15 penalties per game). The Warrior’s game plan to dominate in the Eels in ruck failed and they gave away a good proportion of their 9 penalties for foul play –… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

The Issac Luke try in my opinion was a try.! Just poor defending by Reed Mahoney. Regarding the RTS forward pass. I would of been happy either way. I did however think the ball was backwards out of the hands but did travel forward. A game we were very lucky to win in the end.! Positives for me.. Nathan Brown – Outstanding performance, But can only do so much and requires help. Mosses – When he runs is spectacular – Doesn’t run enough. Parry – Young kid with potential, Ran hard and never shy away from contact. People are questioning… Read more »

Jonno
Guest
Jonno

Anonymous, you should stay anonymous and silent

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Anonymous if you thought it was backwards out of the hand and floated forward then clearly you thought it was a fair try.

I have no doubt it was forward out of the hand. In fact given his body position I think it would be very difficult to throw a pass backwards. I also think that the referee call was a good one.

Parramatta Tragic
Guest
Parramatta Tragic

Forward passes are simple. If I pass a ball on the halfway line and my team mate catches it in front of the halfway line, it is a forward pass. Forget this over analysed BS about hands facing backwards. We have passed the ball backwards for a hundred years and now we are trying to invent ways of allowing forward passes. It was never a problem in the past. The pass from TVS was DEFINITELY forward

sixties
Admin

To me the RTS pass wasn’t even close. It was blatantly forward.
However, if they try to bring in “Hawkeye” to check forward passes – look out.
You will find that most passes from players sprinting will travel forward. If they check passes in tries, every try involving a line break with players drawing and passing on the run will be disallowed.

84 Baby
Guest
84 Baby

If they bring in Hawkeye for forward passes #camooilnaire might have to retire sooner

Rowdy
Guest
Rowdy

“Hawkeye Bill”? I remember when he was ref in a Parra game at Pirtek where he called back 4 tries (wingers and outside backs away with no one to beat) for non existent forward passes. Hawkeye Bill Harrogan’s only response when questioned was to sin bin the questioner twice and another Parra player to the bin to keep him company also. Michael Buettner was the said questioner. We was robbed!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I have no problem with Luke’s actual put down, but I do with the preceding knock on. I thought immediately and after watching many replays have no problem with the RTS forward pass. It was clearly forward end of story.

In fact there was an exact replica in the 2nd Challenge Cup SF when Kev Naquima flicked a pass to his winger. It was called forward immediately and no commentator said anything g against it. If you get a chance have a look, the hysteria about the RTS forward pass is ridiculous.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Maybe it’s because it’s RTS (a big name player) and not Ethan Parry who threw the pass? Just saying, our game has a certain propensity to overlook star players’ discretions or mistakes (Cameron Smith AHEM).

Rob
Guest
Rob

*indiscretions

sixties
Admin

Our game does indeed!

BDon
Guest
BDon

This is QC standard Forty. And you could probably present a brief like this every week, but as you say, it’s the nature of such a dynamic and brutal game.
The Luke try is only grounded because his chin is providing the downward pressure as his hand momentarily slips down the ball. Control seems to be compromised but was there separation?. Does the downward pressure have to be provided by the hand/arm, or is this a case where they ruled a try because his hand was on the ball at grounding, regardless of how the downward pressure occurred? Interesting.

sixties
Admin

That try was more infuriating from the context of the “we was robbed” bleating that has dominated discussions since then. Hey Warriors, check the calls like that from the first half especially that went your way.
RTS pass was forward. End of story. Your team held down in the ruck, dragged players after tackles were completed, stood offside all match.
The 9-2 count was kind.
Biased comment done. 😁

BDon
Guest
BDon

Agree with theRTS pass, Beale caught it at least a metre in front, and it seemed to fly direct to that point, rather than that trajectory that occurs with momentum. I reckon the one handed backhander pass is much harder to tell whether the ball starts out straight(or backwards). Usually wrist and fingers play a big role. With the two handed pass you can at least get a fix on body, arms, hands and ball position. I recall Corey Norman last year got pulled up a few times for momentum passes as our winger planted the ball. It’s only biased… Read more »

Luke Winley
Guest
Luke Winley

Dufty and now ayshford have been “Sivoed”

Michael Formosa
Guest
Michael Formosa

So …….. you’re a Wrestling fan too! Great stuff 👍🏻

sixties
Admin

Oh, you didn’t know…

!0 Year Member
Guest
!0 Year Member

Our pedestrian defense on the edges is a HUGE worry. Apart from the Luke no try, our edges are getting smashed. The tries are coming so easily with the poor sliding defense. I should not complain, coming from last to where we are now…….awesome…..but I want us to challenge for the title and the edge defense, and around the ruck, needs to be tightened up very quickly. Agreed, the media attention because SK had a dummy spit is laughable, NP was taken out in the air a few times and if that last pass for the no try was ruled… Read more »

DDay
Guest
DDay

The left edge which leaked 2 tries against the Warriors will improve this week with Jennings back, he’s a much better partner for Sivo. Lane also returns to the LHS which can only help. RHS will have Taka outside Blake and Manu – untested waters. Big improvement in the ruck defense against the Warriors but can the Eels do that away from Bankwest?

Pou
Guest
Pou

Great article.

Regarding Mahoney being rested without Salmon to replace him, you’ll note that Gutherson only covered him in attack. In defence Mahoney was replaced by a genuine middle forward, and it’s worth mentioning that the Warriors did not score a point in the 16 minutes Mahoney was off the field. The little fella still topped the tackle count though.

I think it’s a good tactic.

Andrew Collier
Guest
Andrew Collier

This is something I wrote on the NRL insta post , but, quickly took down once I read some of the hate being posted about this game. There is a moment in this game when Takairangi scores where in the foreground you can see Dylan Brown pushing up in support only to be pulled out of the play by Tevaga. This is only one example of many through out this game of ‘dirty’ tactics being used . The refs I’m sure notice this and therefore go about scrutinising each play more closely. I am not for a moment suggesting that… Read more »

mitch
Admin

Fair comment. Regarding Brown and Tevaga: the refs did spot that; it was part of the refs instruction when it went up to the Bunker. As it was a try, however, it was not looked at.

Nonetheless, agree with your assessment. I don’t want to criticise refs faulters from other teams only to refs fault when it doesn’t go our way, but it’s clear that it goes both ways, and it generally evens out in the end (whether through decisions or tactics).

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Would that not be worth 10 in the bin for a professional foul or is it not aproffessional foul when the team scores.

Another one that caught my eye, do not know if it has been mentioned, was Reed being taken high by Tevita Harris loosing the ball in a turnover and the Ref saying play on.

mitch
Admin

The team scoring negates the professional foul. It’s one or the other.

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

I thought that applied to Penalty try or sin bin but I am happy with that explanation.

I have looked at the game again and the Warriors through absolutely everything at the Eels in this game. They were on a mission with their season in tatters.

Gaz
Guest
Gaz

Thank you, really loved the videos, lot of work for you but not only every Parra fan but every footy fan should love to have their teams games recapped in this awesome informative and totally non biased manner. Well done.

pete
Guest
pete

Excellent read, that whiskey is like a truth serum. I really appreciate the work you put into these. The game itself, was a great game and result, l will definitely take the two points from that gritty come back win. I’ve looked at RTS pass and I believe it was forward and both referee and linesman were beside RTS when he threw it. I can’t see him facing straight ahead and pushing the ball back behind him, I see him on his side reaching and throwing around the defender the defender prevents him from passing back. Anyway, Imagine the response… Read more »

parrathruandthru
Guest
parrathruandthru

Reedy went to the head bin. I saw the HIA card put up in front of me. There was also a replay during the coverage showing him cop a bump to the head making a tackle. I had the sound down while watching the replay I assumed that was the cause

Milo
Guest
Milo

Excellent work 40. Well done. Those video plays are superb. I can watch those over and over again. I cannot believe the hoo hah about the last pass for RTS; it was bloody forward to me and many and as many people said it was not. Who cares. The nrl have allowed these issues into the game for one main reason imo, they have coaches on this competition committee with vested interests, and again to placate clubs. Referees should referee and run the rules of the game. Simple and make directives to the nrl board. The more the rules change… Read more »

Greg Okladnikov
Guest
Greg Okladnikov

Great read and analysis as always