Bunker blunder overshadows Roosters triumph
A TRULY bizarre decision from the NRL's maligned video review bunker has stolen the limelight from a gritty Roosters win over Newcastle.
While the Bondi boys ground out a tough 28-4 victory at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, it was the bumbling bunker that was the topic of discussion in the aftermath.
In the 61st minute Daniel Tupou was awarded a try that should have never been. And while it may not have decided the result of the game, it certainly seemed to change the momentum.
The scoreboard had been locked at 12-4 in the Roosters' favour since the 30th minute.
But it was far from a fait accompli as a spirited Newcastle side went punch-for-punch with an undermanned Chooks.
The controversial incident came when Mitchell Pearce kicked cross-field to centre Latrell Mitchell, who raked it forward towards the tryline.
The action was a knock-on, plain and simple. Despite the fact Mitchell was facing his own tryline, the ball clearly moved forward off his hand before he had regathered it.
Still, it was the bunker that inexplicably judged the action to be legal and awarded the Tupou try to make the score 16-4.
While the game was still there to be won for Newcastle, the baffling bunker decision gave the Roosters a breath of life and they went on to score two more tries to seal the result.
The Chooks and coach Trent Robinson will see it as a shame the bunker became the talking point rather than their gritty win.
Newcastle forced three dropouts and earned four consecutive sets with the ball in the opening seven minutes of the game.
They couldn't capitalise with points, and the run ended with a Brock Lamb dropped ball to finally give the Roosters a chance.
With their third set of the game the home side struck, when Blake Ferguson flew high to latch on to a Latrell Mitchell cross-field kick.
Peter Mata'utia bizarrely decided not to contest the high ball and instead waited for Ferguson to land, but it was a poor defensive effort from the Knights centre.
The Roosters troubled the line again a couple more times with kicks that the Knights struggled to defuse, and then it was Luke Keary who waltzed through the defensive line to extend the lead in the 26th minute.
This was despite the fact Newcastle had been gifted more ball and found themselves in prime attacking territory on a number of occasions thanks to some soft Roosters penalties.
Four minutes later it was Shaun Kenny-Dowall - returning to play his first NRL game since being turfed by the Chooks - who finally got his new club on the board.
He pounced on a Dane Gagai grubber to burn his former side.
The four-pointer means Kenny-Dowall has now scored against every club in the NRL - a feat that shouldn't be understated and something quirky to cap an impressive career.
The 10 minutes after half time was a frantic affair as both sides struggled to capitalise on scoring opportunities.
In the 56th minute the game was put on hold when Chanel Mata'utia was knocked out and had to be taken away on a medicab.
Mata'utia was attempting to tackle Blake Ferguson and copped an accidental shoulder or elbow in the face.
Older brother Peter appeared to have tears in his eyes as his sibling was assisted off the field.
Then, 10 minutes later, it was the bunker's turn to steal the show with a dumbfounding decision to award the Roosters a try.
Despite Latrell Mitchell clearly dragging the ball towards the tryline - generally referred to as a knock on in the world of rugby league - the men behind the button hit the green light instead of red.
It truly was a baffling decision and clearly knocked the wind out of the Knights .
Isaac Liu then put the game on ice with a try in the 68th minute to make the lead 22-4.
Connor Watson - believed to be joining the Knights in 2018 - delivered the final blow with a try in the 75th.