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Opinion

Warriors see yellow, fans see red

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Roar Pro
7th September, 2020
25
3575 Reads

If you’re looking for an unbiased, analytical piece citing statistics, this is not the read for you. This is raw emotion – frustration, indignity and bitterness so vast you could add it to your lemon and lime for years.

Why do NRL officials hate the Warriors? Another lopsided penalty count against the Eels, another result influenced by officials.

I know it’s the nature of sport. I expect most fans outside of Melbourne feel they never get the rub, the odds are against them, the opposition infringe with impunity while their team get punished.

But the Warriors seem to get more bum calls than most. Or at least that’s how it feels for the faithful. That perception isn’t helped when we score – fans hold their breath while a team of forensic investigators examine every blade of grass in an attempt to disallow it.

By the time a Warriors’ try is awarded, officials can not only trace its origins back nine tackles, but they can also tell you what the try-scorer ate for breakfast. Contrastingly, when the opposition score: whistle peeps, arm goes up, no need to check it, lads.

NZ Warriors

(Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The Warriors got no love from the officials against Paramatta, losing by six after the Eels scored twice and Jazz Tevaga was binned for what appeared to be overzealous pushing, naughty words and pulling angry faces.

A card? I’ve seen more damage done to line officials at the US Open.

In defence of referee Grant Atkins, it’s not like Nathan Brown is a recidivist offender who over-reacts and carries on like a complete pork chop. Actually…

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To be fair to Brown, Tevaga is too easily sparked as well. Both players are aggressive and relish personal battles. But it needs to be controlled. Big games can be decided by a single moment with little margin for error.

More pain. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck soared through the air, part world-class fullback, part gazelle, before Nathan Brown collided with him, sending the Warriors captain tumbling to earth. It wasn’t just clumsy, it was dangerous.

It was a key moment. Warriors fans rubbed their hands in expectation. The whistle went, Atkins raised his arm. Penalty to the Eels. Offside play. I was stunned. I was outraged. I bellowed something that couldn’t be published.

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Brown may have been looking up, but he was no chance of catching that ball. In rugby union they protect the jumper. Brown would have received a red card. If you think that’s because union is touch footy for people who don’t like tackling and enjoy group cuddles, I’ve never seen anyone carded in rugby for vigorous pushing resulting in hurt feelings.

I wanted to turn off my TV and throw the remote. I didn’t do either. The Warriors have shown over the last six weeks they don’t give up, and they didn’t against the Eels.

The Warriors handled the dud calls far better than me, responding with two of the tries of the season. I bellowed again, this time with joy.

It was another tremendous Warriors effort, but ultimately they ran out of gas. Without doubt the Eels had some favourable calls, but they didn’t play as well as they could and still managed to get the result. Good teams do that regardless of the calls. Fair play to them.

The Warriors have improved significantly throughout this season but too late for finals footy. That wasn’t Grant Atkins or Nathan Brown’s fault; blame belongs with the Warriors. They know this.

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I think I know it too. I lied when I said this wasn’t going to be an analytical piece. I’ve done the numbers. They don’t support my argument that the Warriors are hard done by, so I ignored them.

If the Warriors can continue to build, maybe they will get more calls, or maybe they won’t need them.