Rugby league legends have labeled the Bunker’s huge blunder in the Tigers’ shock loss on Sunday evening as a “shocking indictment on our game”.
With only one second on the clock, Cowboys skipper Chad Townsend used a captain’s challenge, claiming Kyle Feldt was escorted off the ball attempting to recover a short kick-off.
Bunker referee Ashley Klein ruled Asu Kepaoa ran sideways to block Feldt, which drew heavy criticism from commentators and the rugby league community.
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Speaking on Triple M, NRL legend Mark Geyer said it was a “bad day” for the sport.
“It was unbelievable, I want to find out if anyone at all disagrees with what I am about to say, that was one of the worst decisions in my 45 years of being involved with rugby league,”
“I still can’t believe that that is the way that we have become.
“I am a neutral in this game, but what we saw last night was a shocking indication on our game.
“Kyle Feldt took a dive, and you know what, he has got every right to, he is trying to win the game for his team, but then it was out of his hands.
“Then it was in the officials hands, who we trust to get the best results nine times out of ten, but I am sorry but this is a bad day for rugby league when this is a penalty to the Cowboys, it really is.”
Geyer also explained in “the spirit of the game” the Tigers should have come away with a huge upset victory.
The Cowboys were heavy favorites coming into the contest, but, being led by assistant coaches Ben Gardiner and Nathan Cayless, the merger club delivered and came desperately close to winning.
“A Cowboys player ran into a Tigers player, which he did on purpose, Kyle Feldt took a dive,” Geyer said.
“That should have been the end of the game, but no… I am not too au fait on exactly when and why and how these captain’s challenges (can be called) when the game stops.”
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“All I know, that in the spirit of the game, the Tigers should never have lost that game.
“It was a bad look, the spirit of the game is broken if that is a victory to the Cowboys.”
“Stevie Wonder can see that wasn’t the case… I can’t believe that that is how you lose a rugby league game.
“Ashley Klein, I am not going to dive into you because everyone makes mistakes, they really do, I have never seen a rugby league team or player never make mistakes.
“So referees, touch judges, bunkers, they get it wrong, but man, that was wrong in so many ways.
“Now we are talking about Lee Hagipantelis, who is from Brydens Lawyers, taking some legal action, now I don’t want to see legal action taken in our game.”
Commentating live on Triple M, NRL great James Graham went beserk after the Cowboys were allowed to make a captain’s challenge.
The English international labeled the Bunker’s call a “disgrace”… five times.
He also questioned why Townsend was able to challenge anything given no whistle was blown.
“That is a disgrace. That’s a disgrace! That is a disgrace,” Graham fumed. “That video ref has had a shocker.
“That is a disgrace.
“What are they challenging? The full-time whistle went. They’re challenging the fact the full-time siren went? What are they challenging? There’s no decision to challenge. It’s just a tackle.
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“That is a robbery. There has been a balaclava, a sawn-off shotgun and someone’s gone to Townsville and robbed the Tigers of two points. That is a disgrace.”
Meanwhile, speaking on Sunday Night with Matty Johns, Nathan Hindmarsh said the Tigers were “robbed.”
“That is a bad decision,” Johns said.
“If you are a Tigers fan you would be smoking. It is hard to believe. That game was in the bag.”
“That’s not right,” Bryan Fletcher said.
“It is a bad decision because he is going for the ball. I don’t want to go into it in case I get arrested.”
“They are both looking at the ball,” Nathan Hindmarsh said.
“How is he changing direction? The Tigers have been robbed here.”