South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has delivered a withering spray to the NRL’s referees in the wake of his side’s controversial 25-24 loss to Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
An emotional Maguire slammed the officials for a string of decisions and said he was devastated for his players and the club’s supporters. A furious Shane Richardson – Souths’ general manager of football – stormed into the press box after the match and bellowed “write about the bunker now” after the Broncos were awarded one of the most controversial tries of the season through Tautau Moga.
Brisbane scraped over the line thanks to an Anthony Milford field goal however replays suggested the five-eighth bobbled the ball just before firing the winning one-pointer in the 78th minute.
While Broncos coach Wayne Bennett had no doubt it was a legal play, the normally measured Maguire was adamant the call potentially cost his side two points.
“Well the Channel Nine commentators saw it and they thought it was a knock-on,” Maguire said.
“I came in here looking to blow up but to be truthfully honest I don’t think that will do anything. They’ll just hang me out for a fine which is what happens in this situation.”
Even Bennett admitted his side was on the receiving end of some fortunate calls.
After Souths scored three tries in 11 minutes to take the lead midway through the second half, Moga crossed to even up the scores in the 69th.
Just moments earlier, Milford crossed the line but was held up and the ball came out the back of the ruck for Moga to scoop it up and dive over the line.
South Sydney skipper Sam Burgess and Maguire argued the tackle had been made and the play should have been dead, however the bunker ruled a four-pointer.
“How do I explain that to a playing group that is busting their arse?” Maguire said.
“We’ve got fans out there that live and breathe this club, how do I explain the decisions that are being made.”
Souths officials will this week contact the NRL to ensure that the Broncos are investigated after Milford kicked a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time and was subsequently taken off for a head injury assessment.
The Broncos earned a penalty when Burgess hit Milford high. Broncos doctor Peter Hackney reviewed the footage and decided to bring him off to be checked but only after he had taken the shot at goal.
Rabbitohs officials were adamant he should have been pulled straight away and not allowed to take the kick.
Bennett said the Broncos had followed proper protocol.
“The doctor made the decision (to bring Milford off), we didn’t make the decision,” Bennett said.
“The trainer thought he was OK to continue, he didn’t think there was a serious issue there.
“The doctor wanted him off. And Anthony had no symptoms and I spoke to him at halftime.”