Newcastle have imploded as Canterbury lifted themselves off the bottom of the NRL ladder with a rousing 20-14 come-from-behind win.
There are numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the dropping of a sitter by Tigers winger Jordan Rankin, on Sunday April 10, 2016.
These theories posit that the placement of a second ball on field involved people or organisations associated with Knights forward Korbin Sims.
Most current theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving a rogue Knights ballboy, however others allude to involvement by groups as varied as the CIA, the Mafia, Cuban president Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination of those entities.
Some conspiracy theories claim that the Newcastle City Council covered up crucial information in the aftermath of the event. No single theory is widely accepted.
Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Australians believe there was a conspiracy to include a second ball on field to deliberately distract Rankin.
Gallup polls have found that over 80 per cent of the population believe that the second ball was placed on field deliberately and only 20 per cent believe that Sims had acted alone. However, these polls also show that there is no agreement on who else may have been involved.
For his part, Sims has always claimed his innocence, stating that he didn’t see the second ball. When interviewed by Channel Nine after the match, Sims claimed that his soccer-style kick wasn’t intentional. “I didn’t see it, it was just on the field,” he said.
In further developments, immediately after the dropped ball, many people suspected that the intention to distract Rankin was part of a larger plot. Some conspiracy theorists believe that it was an inside-job orchestrated by Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.
One leading conspiracy theorist stated, “Farah has already got rid of two coaches at the Tigers, so people are watching him carefully. The only way he could get rid of Jason Taylor is from the inside. He was directly involved in having the second ball placed on field, you can be sure of that.”
Meanwhile, the second Steedon has gone into hiding, claiming that the emotional stress of being blamed for the Tiger’s loss is taking its toll. “It’s not my fault,” it said, ´”I was just lying there minding my own business.”
Causing further embarrassment to the NRL, private detectives hired by the governing body have been unable to locate the current whereabouts of the second ball, claiming that “those things aren’t easy to find you know, they all bloody look the same”.
To hose down growing outrage, referees’ boss Tony Archer addressed the media as part of his weekly Archer Commission address, stating categorically that Tigers winger Jordan Rankin was solely responsible for dropping the high ball and that there was no evidence that a ball-boy or any other party was responsible for placing the second ball on the field.
Despite this, numerous researchers are critical of Archer, pointing out what they characterise as inconsistencies, oversights, exclusions of evidence, errors, changing stories, or changes made to witness testimony in the official Archer Commission investigation, which they say could suggest a cover-up.
However, it has also been pointed out that “inconsistencies, oversights, exclusions of evidence, errors, changing stories, or changes made to witness testimony” is all part of being the NRL referees’ boss.
Finally, in another twist, Hollywood director Oliver Stone has announced he has purchased the rights to the story and will be casting Kevin Costner as Korbin Sims and Gary Oldman as Jordan Rankin.