It was the decision that had the 17,000-strong 1300SMILES Stadium crying foul, but the NRL bunker made the correct call to deny a try for North Queensland Cowboys halfback Jake Clifford, according to Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold.
Officials decided Brisbane’s Andrew McCullough was impeded when trying to make a tackle on Clifford, despite being able to make a front-on tackle as North Queensland half Clifford crossed the line.
The decision eventually helped the Broncos secure an 18-14 victory in Townsville to keep their NRL finals hopes alive.
“I didn’t think it was a try. I did think he (McCullough) was obstructed,” Seibold said post-match.
“I’m not being biased.”
The scores were locked at 6-6 in the 48th minute when Clifford stepped off his left foot and broke an attempted tackle by McCullough to cross the white line.
But after video replays showed Cowboys backrower Gavin Cooper making slight contact with McCullough, it was called back even though the hooker still was able to attempt a tackle on Clifford.
Calm, but obviously seething, Cowboys Coach Paul Green did his best to avoid a fine in the post-match press conference.
“It’s not the right time for me to be commenting,” Green said.
“We need to look at did he have a chance to make a tackle and I think he did, and he didn’t make it.”
With the two competition points in his back-pocket counterpart coach Seibold saw it differently.
“He got a crack at him after that, but the rules are you can’t cut his road.”
Green also had little to say regarding a first-half incident where North Queensland prop Josh McGuire appeared to touch the face of a Broncos player on the ground.
“No, I don’t know about it,” he said.
McGuire has already been fined for facial-related indiscretions twice this season.