NRL News: Robbo refuses to blame Bunker despite dodgy no-try call, Benji gets royal seal of approval, Oates may be back in pack


Trent Robinson has refused to blame a pivotal obstruction call from the bunker for his Sydney Roosters’ 22-16 loss to Penrith.

But the coach questioned whether the bunker had been consistent in applying its rules after a similar play went unpunished in the lead-up to a Penrith try on Thursday night.

Joey Manu appeared to have scored the Roosters’ first four-pointer after he charged through opposite centre Taylan May to plant the ball on the Allianz Stadium turf.

But the bunker spotted Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves collecting Penrith’s Dylan Edwards as he followed through on a decoy run and rescinded the try.

Joseph Manu scores a try, which was then disallowed. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Roosters dropped back to 12-0, their momentum stifled.

The call eventually proved significant in the outcome of the game as the Panthers held their fast-finishing hosts off for a six-point win.

It was also brought into sharper focus when Penrith’s Liam Martin collided with two Roosters in the lead-up to a Sunia Turuva four-pointer in the second half, only for that try to stand.

Martin bounced between Sitili Tupouniua and Luke Keary, with the first Rooster falling to the turf and the second having his run impacted in attempting to reach the play.

“(The Manu no try) is a bit like how Sitili got knocked over in our one,” Robinson said. “Was he going to save the try? No, he wasn’t. I don’t think (Edwards) would’ve got there either on Joey Manu. But anyway.”

The issue as Robinson saw it was that the first call had applied the obstruction rule to the letter, while the second had used discretion to determine the Roosters’ defenders were unlikely to have made it to Turuva and save a try.

“What was the judgement on, I guess is what we’re asking,” Robnson said.

“Is it, was Luke or Sitili going to get there, or was Edwards going to get there? Or is it the rule on the obstruction?

“I feel like there was two different rulings in that case. One was given, ‘Yeah, it’s an obstruction but we think it would’ve got one’ and the other one didn’t get the benefit of the doubt.”

Roosters captain James Tedesco was frustrated by the call, claiming a player who appealed for a penalty would be likelier to secure one.

“He knocked him a little bit to affect him on that. If Keary went to the ground, it probably would’ve been no try,” he said.

Robinson conceded the call was crucial, but would not blame it for the Roosters’ defeat.

Easts struggled to wrestle ascendancy back from their fast-starting visitors, ruing first-half errors that kept them on the back foot.

“It was a pretty big play for us but in the end they were a better team by far,” Robinson said.

The Roosters thought they were on the scoreboard, but after the review, this was given as NO TRY.

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Asked for his opinion, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said he’d made a pledge with himself not to weigh in on bunker matters this season.

“I’m going to keep that going tonight,” he said. “I’ll say one thing, every time we’ve ever done a black-and-white interpretation in rugby league, it’s been a failure.

“I’m not saying that was the case tonight, I’m not saying yes or no, but every time we have, it doesn’t work.”

Prince gives Benji seal of approval

Scott Prince was in the stands at Leichhardt Oval to watch the Wests Tigers give Benji Marshall his first win as an NRL coach and it reinforced his belief that his former premiership-winning halves partner will be at the helm of plenty more victories.

Marshall and Prince were pivotal in the joint-venture’s only NRL title in 2005 and both are now forging paths as coaches – Prince with Brisbane’s NRLW side and Marshall as the mentor of his beloved Tigers.

The 2005 Tigers met in Sydney last weekend for an annual catch-up and Prince was on hand to watch the 32-6 demolition of Cronulla. Prince was in the dressing room after the match and said the way Marshall’s speech was received spoke volumes.

“I watched the way he delivered his final chat and I was so impressed with the respect the players have for Benji,” Prince told AAP. “With the vibe he has around the team I am really excited for what the future holds for the Tigers.

“The playing group believe in what he says and where they are going. That belief within the four walls is all that matters to any footy club.”

Marshall is not in for an easy ride. His status and profile will ensure every move he makes will be amplified to the hilt.

“I had a chat to him and there is a lot of media strain, as you can imagine down in Sydney where everyone wants blood when a team doesn’t win,” Prince said. “I don’t understand why that is, but it just seems to be the way across the board.

“He is a young coach doing his best and I was so damn happy for him to get the first win of the season.

“Not only that, but the team was able to put their bodies on the line for him off the back of the game plan they had and the effort they showed defensively. I know it is a long year and there are going to be so many ups and downs for him and the Tigers but there are some really good signs 

“They are going to have to win ugly to claw their way back and build confidence they can take on the heavyweights of the NRL.”

In what will be music to the ears of Tigers fans, the shutout of the Sharks reminded Prince of the 2005 preliminary final where Wests bashed St George Illawarra in an upset 20-12 win that solidified their credentials as far more than just an attacking force to be reckoned with.

“That 2005 prelim was the toughest club game I have been involved in. It was fast, physical and we worked so hard for one another,” Prince recalled. “We built pressure with our kicking game, where Robbie Farah and myself got repeat sets.

“They did that for Benji the other night and scored several tries off kicks with effort areas around purely contesting for the footy. The Tigers won on the back of defensive effort.”

Prince explained why he believed Marshall would make the transition into an excellent mentor.

“His experience as a player doesn’t mean he will just automatically convert into a good coach, but he knows about delivery under pressure and has a great understanding of the media, which I think is one key aspect of being a head coach,” Prince said.

“Benji knows how to take the pressure off the playing group and get them to believe and trust what he is trying to achieve.

“Right from the get-go he needed the support of the club, but it is great to see that he also wants to do this his way.

“He has signed handy players. One that springs to mind is Justin Olam, from the Storm, who was fantastic against Cronulla.

The Tigers celebrate a try by Alex Seyfarth. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

“Benji has taken a punt on 18-year-old five-eighth Lachlan Galvin. He has shown belief in him, which is a really good thing from a coaching point of view.”

Cowboys coach Payten also caught up with his 2005 grand final Tigers teammates last Friday night on the eve of his own side’s showdown with St George Illawarra.

“Benji understands the game. He understands the club. He knows what he wants his footy team to look like and he knows what he’s got ahead of him,” Payten told AAP.

“I think he is getting the support he needs and I hope he does well, just not against us. And one other thing … I have never seen the kid fail at anything.”

Oates could be back in pack

New Brisbane bench utility Corey Oates has been told to be ready for anything by coach Kevin Walters ahead of the clash with North Queensland.

The injury-ravaged Broncos are without prop Payne Haas (knee), fullback Reece Walsh (facial fracture) and second-rower Brendan Piakura (ankle) for the Friday night showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Oates, a winger by trade, has trained in most positions on the field this week in readiness for what might transpire in the Queensland derby.

The 29-year-old has Maroons experience, has scored 118 tries in 201 NRL games for Brisbane and is a huge physical presence. It is also his first game of the season after missing the early rounds with a knee injury and being overlooked in the starting side for Deine Mariner.

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“Corey can expect the unexpected,” Walters said. “He could end up on an edge, in the middle or on the wing. He’s experienced enough, Corey.

“He’s played a lot of footy to know when he gets the tap on the shoulder that he’s ready to go in whatever position that is.

“It is hard to not admire his size and what he brings to the team so if he gets an opportunity, his first (for the season), it’s a good chance for him to show what he can do in Broncos colours.”

Former St George Illawarra back-rower Jaiyden Hunt replaces Piakura and livewire fullback Tristan Sailor comes in for Walsh against the undefeated Cowboys.

with AAP

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