The NRL has defended Origin referee Gerard Sutton’s decision to blow full-time, despite a successful captain’s challenge from NSW in a frantic finish to the series decider.
The Maroons won a Suncorp classic 20-14 to claim a series win, but the Blues successfully challenged a Jake Friend knock on only for Sutton to blow full-time anyway.
“You can challenge, you’ve got 10 seconds,” Sutton told NSW hooker Damien Cook.
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NSW lose challenge, QLD WIN!
State of Origin: A frantic finish to Game III saw NSW challenge the final play of the night, only to lose the captains challenge and the series, going down 20-14, with Queensland teeing off their celebrations.
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“Time’s expired, but you’ve still got the challenge.”
Video referee Steve Chiddy ruled that Junior Paulo had offloaded the ball legitimately, before Friend knocked on in trying to pick up the ball and then ran it over the dead ball line.
The challenge was successful, but NSW were denied a scrum restart because there was no time remaining on the clock, which meant they couldn’t push for the six points needed to force extra time.
“Jake Friend knocks it on, and that kills the play,” Sutton explained to Cook, before blowing the final whistle.
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However Sutton’s language confused Queensland legend Paul Vautin during the coverage.
“If time’s expired, how can they challenge?” questioned Vautin.
However the NRL’s Head of Football, Graham Annesley, told Wide World of Sports that Sutton and the video referee made the right call.
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“It’s the first time we’ve had a captain’s challenge in such dramatic circumstances at the end of a game, but even in the case of a successful challenge, the only way the game could have been extended beyond the expiry of regular time is in a situation requiring the referee to award a penalty for a major breach of the rules,” Annesley said.
Damien Cook ponders what might have been.Source:Getty Images
“In cases of a minor technical breach normally resulting in a scrum restart, the only way play could have proceeded would be if the players had already formed the scrum and the referee calls time-out before the clock reaches zero.”
The fact the Blues did not have time to pack a scrum meant that Friend’s knock on was effectively the last play of the game, despite the dramatic aftermath.
Originally published asThe ending of Origin III was a chaotic farce. Here’s why the refs got it RIGHT
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