Wow. What a grand final, it had controversy and… well, more controversy.
Roosters fans booed Jack Wighton for getting the Clive Churchill medal, because they though their trainer should have got it.
Having just watched the reply, I still think there was no knock on from Raiders so it should have been their ball.
Either way, Roosters scored their first try on the back of a ridiculously dodgy call. That the trainer interfered with play should have been a handover to the Raiders and the trainer binned for the match.
At the very least the NRL have to review trainers being on the field when there are no injuries.
As for the six again call at the end, I have tried to see if it hits James Tedesco’s back or a Raiders player and I’m not sure, but either way a hand waving means six again. Refs don’t usually change their call mid play, especially when it affects the attacking team.
It was gross incompetence of the highest level, on the biggest rugby league stage of all and the refs should have stuck with their original call.
After 30 years of watching grand finals I have no doubt that that was the worst call I’ve ever seen in a grand final, not so much as whether the original call being right or wrong, but because the precedent is that referees don’t change their calls without video evidence.
Essentially, the Raiders were robbed. Twice. The Roosters did not score a try without the assistance of the referee and should not have had a single try awarded in that match.
Certainly I would feel pretty ashamed to celebrate as a Roosters fan, but like the Kiwis in the cricket World Cup, you just have to take it on the chin because officially the Roosters have gone back to back. That will never change.
What should change is a very simple acceptance from the NRL that trainers should not be on the field as they were throughout this game, and introduce a rule regarding trainer interference leading to automatic handover to the other team.
On-field calls should never be overturned without video evidence, which aside from tries should only occur for foul play.
Beyond that, every rugby league fan and many non league fans must feel deeply for every Raiders player and fan about that result.
A team can play better and lose, but to lose in that manner is the most heart-breaking way to go down. I’d rather be in the Bulldogs’ position than feel that pain.
Everyone in Canberra should hold their heads high and be tremendously proud of what should have been a grand final-winning effort.