St George Illawarra beat Newcastle 21-16 in Wollongong, but not before a debate erupted over whether an off-side call should have been made when Knights five-eighth Jake Clifford opted for a short kick-off close to the western sideline in the 78th minute, the Dragons leading 17-16.
Dragons centre Zac Lomax leapt for the ball but fumbled it and second-rower Jaydn Su’A, who had been in an off-side position when Lomax touched the footy, cleaned it up.
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The referee didn’t award the Knights a penalty and rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns was staggered.
“Are you serious?” Johns said on Nine.
“What is the touch judge doing?”
Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien was also dumbfounded, indicating in his post-match press conference that he’d raise the matter in a meeting with NRL officials.
Gould and Gallen collided in an incredible back-and-forth over the contentious kick-off on Monday night’s edition of Nine’s 100% Footy.
“No doubt (Su’A) was in front of (Lomax) when (Lomax) touched the ball, but when (Su’A) grabs the ball I believe he may have got himself back on side,” said Gallen, who was on commentary duty for Nine and watching from the same sideline.
“Does he? I don’t know. I don’t know what the decision is… I stood up off my seat and I was shocked it wasn’t a penalty, but looking at that now…”
Gould cut in.
“Don’t go to water,” Gould said.
“They call everything a knock-on nowadays… he was off side… if he’s knocked it on and he’s come from in front of him it had to be off side.”
Gallen: “No, he never knocked it on, though. I believe it went back”.
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Gould: “If that had been at any other time in the game and the ball hit the ground, the referee would have ruled knock-on. They ruled knock-on 15 times this weekend for balls that went back. Everything’s a knock-on. You name it”.
Gallen: “That’s not a knock-on. Gus, that’s not a knock-on”.
Gould: “It is a knock-on”.
Gallen: “It’s not a knock-on; he’s facing that way and knocks it back that way”.
Gould: “No, it goes through his hands that way”.
Gallen: “Do you need glasses?”.
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Gallen: “Put some on. It goes backwards”.
Gould: “No, it doesn’t; it goes forward”.
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If a penalty had been awarded to the Knights, they could have stolen the lead at the death through a try, penalty goal or two-point field goal, or levelled the scores with a one-point field goal.
Instead, play carried on as though nothing illegal had happened, before Dragons winger Mathew Feagai crossed for a try to seal victory in polarising scenes.
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