Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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Ricky Stuart remains FUMING after Canberra were denied last-second penalty in controversial defeat

Ricky Stuart was furious after Canberra were denied a last-minute penalty in a 12-10 loss to St George Illawarra at a rain-soaked WIN Stadium on Sunday.

The Dragons led by two points with just over a minute to go as the Raiders had a glorious opportunity to score after St George full-back Cody Ramsey dropped a bombshell.

The Dragons defense refused to move through the first five tackles, and St. George utility Jack Bird halfback Ben Hunt then laid over Joe Tapine to intentionally slow the game after the Raiders prop fell five yards from attacked away from the try line.

Referee Peter Gough intervened to signal a six again to restart the tackle count, but did not award a penalty to the Raiders just before the point, which in all likelihood would have leveled the score and forced the game to a golden point.

As the new set of six began, Hunt grabbed half dummy Tom Starling and it was game over.

“I’ve only seen it once [and] I just have to see it once,” said a visibly frustrated Stuart after the game.

“Tomorrow I’ll get an apology or I’ll get a justification for there being no punishment. We’re set on winning this game with a really hard grind.

Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead was similarly scathing about the decision but conceded Canberra squandered too many chances to win the game.

“It’s best not to comment because it’s going to come back to me,” said Whitehead, who has repeatedly pleaded his team’s cause with Gough.

“It shouldn’t come down to that [last play]we are a better team than that. We let ourselves down and made too many mistakes.’

Speaking on The Matty Johns Show on Fox League after the game, striker Brandon Smith pointed out that the incident demonstrated the fallacy of the six-again approach that the NRL implemented that season.

While a breach at the ruck would previously have been penalized, a six-call is now issued to speed up play.

“Another six here isn’t really a great asset for you as a team,” Smith said.

“But I think if you just pitch the ball – I don’t think it’s legal – but if you pretend to pitch the ball, I think they get a two-point conversion.”

The loss to St George leaves the Raiders in 11th place while the Dragons move up to eighth place and four points ahead of Canberra.

One of the main culprits who undid the Raiders’ hard work was five-eighth-man Jack Wighton, who is expected to join the NSW State of Origin squad on Monday.

Wighton struggled to prevail in the game – his first since missing State of Origin II with COVID-19 – made four penalties and endured a torrid time with the boot in horrendous conditions.

The 29-year-old gave the Dragons their first try of the afternoon when he tapped a brief miss back into Talatau Amone’s hands and also missed a penalty in an even game.

Amone’s 18th-minute try and one just before halftime against Moses Suli were enough to bring the Dragons home.

Xavier Savage scored in the first half for Canberra, with Hudson Young making it 12-10 in the 54th minute.

Wighton’s mistakes proved costly to Canberra’s hopes of a winner, but they got one last crack at the Dragons line only for Hunt and Bird to slow down Tapine and kill the game.

“I was concerned for a moment when I jumped on him [Starling]’ Hunt said.

“I was half panicked, I was left half and I was attacking on the right so I had to do something. I was pretty glad he didn’t blow up.’

A hamstring injury suffered by Mat Feagai was the only concern for the Dragons as they take on Brisbane next Sunday.

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