NRL refs boss says bunker was wrong in awarding Roosters try

In rugby league, sometimes if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it's just a duck. On that note, referees boss Bernard Sutton says match officials made the wrong call in awarding a highly contentious try to the Roosters in their 20-12 win over the Titans.

Sutton on Monday confirmed what virtually everyone watching the game thought, agreeing that Sean O'Sullivan shouldn't have been given the green light for his 33rd-minute effort at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday night.

O'Sullivan had the ball stripped by Jarrod Wallace near the post, re-gathered and rolled the ball down the pad towards him. He eventually grounded it but even the player looked as if he knew a chance had gone begging.

Still, it was given a green light upon review, with the Titans stunned on the field and after the game and coach Garth Brennan struggling to hold his tongue when quizzed about the ruling at the press conference.

Sutton has now clarified that the ball slid down the post towards the player and didn't bounce back into the post, as was the interpretation of the bunker officials.

“However, once it touched the ground it constituted a knock-on and should have been ruled that way,” Sutton said.

Controversy: Sean O'Sullivan rolls the ball down the post padding, with the Bunker giving the try the green light.

Controversy: Sean O’Sullivan rolls the ball down the post padding, with the Bunker giving the try the green light.

It was a crucial try for the Roosters, who finished the round in fourth. The Titans, meanwhile, have little to no chance of making the eight. A win on Sunday would have given them some hope.

Brennan was struggling to put the right words together and avoid any sort of financial penalty. In the end, he said he knew how his friend Trent Robinson, the Manly coach, felt after a number of close calls in their game over the weekend.

"I watched poor old Baz (Manly coach Trent Barrett) at his press conference, where he had two decisions go against him. I felt sorry for him to see what he went through. It's very frustrating," Brennan said.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson, though, gave the decision a thumbs up.

"Yeah, I thought it was a try. He got stripped, that was pretty normal, the pad was behind him. He pushed it back into the pad, let go and then he recovered it from there," Robinson said.

Tipping a bucket on referees has been in vogue this season and many fans have grown tide of the endless waves of criticism and cries that the game was about to fall off a cliff.

But the O'Sullivan ruling looks to be one of the worst of the year, with virtually nobody outside of the bunker or a Roosters jersey understanding how the green light could possibly be given.

But Sutton did back the other controversial call in the Titans-Roosters game, saying a short pass from replacement hooker Kurt Baptiste to Poasa Faamausili was legal and on-field referees were in an ideal spot to make the call.

In other refereeing talking points from the weekend, Sutton said the off-side ruling against Joel Thompson in Manly's match against Melbourne was correct, with the ball travelling forward off Trent Hodkinson to Thompson, who then played at the ball.

“So it was a correct decision to award a penalty to the Storm,” he said.

He also adjudged a pass leading up to a try to Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu as legal despite protests from Manly.

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