The Wests Tigers were denied a brave victory over the North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday following a call from the bunker that is not only the talking point of round 19, but arguably the entire NRL season.
The Cowboys, who are priced at 7/1 to win the NRL grand final, were awarded a penalty in the closing seconds of the game with Valentine Holmes slotting the kick to earn them the win.
It has sent the NRL into meltdown with the bunker again in the spotlight for denying the Tigers a much-needed and well-deserved victory in Townsville.
Elsewhere the Melbourne Storm’s troubles are showing no signs of going away as they slipped to another defeat, leaving them with work to do just to make finals.
Reece Walsh was left out of the Warriors side at the weekend and could now be set for a surprise move, while Josh Addo-Carr has also been linked with a move away from the Bulldogs.
It was another hectic weekend in the NRL so let’s take a look at the main talking points from round 19.
The Tigers are fuming, and rightly so, after being denied victory against the high-flying Cowboys in Townsville on Sunday.
They have picked up just three wins all season to sit bottom of the ladder and the last thing they need is bad calls from the bunker. But that is what happened in the dying stages of the game.
The Tigers were leading 26-25 when fullback Daine Laurie gathered a short Cowboys kick-off after the siren had sounded for full-time, effectively killing the play.
However the Cowboys then launched a ‘captain’s challenge’ claiming that Kyle Feldt had been illegally run off the kick chase by Tigers youngster Asu Kepaoa.
The bunker agreed and awarded the penalty to the Cowboys. Holmes made no mistake and the home side won the game 27-26, much to the anger of the Tigers and any neutral who follows the NRL.
On Monday NRL officials say that there was no issue with the referee allowing the captain’s challenge. However they have admitted that the bunker got it wrong when awarding the Cowboys the penalty.
"Yes there was contact, yes there was a collision, but we believe the Wests Tigers player involved was heading towards the ball, he didn't look over his shoulder to see who was coming behind him,” NRL head of football Graham Annesley told reporters.
"These are matters of judgement from the officials, but on review this morning we just don't believe there was enough in that to award a penalty."
It is not the first time the NRL have admitted the bunker got it wrong this season and it is of little use to the Tigers now as they are left empty-handed.
The Cowboys sit second on the ladder with the win keeping them two points ahead of the third-placed Sharks.
The Melbourne Storm were once hot contenders for the premiership. They are still priced at 13/2 to win the grand final, but the way they are going they will do well to hold on to a spot in the top eight.
They slipped to their fourth defeat on the bounce against a resurgent South Sydney on Saturday and now sit fifth on the ladder, just two wins clear of the Manly Sea Eagles in ninth spot.
Craig Bellamy’s men now have games against the Warriors and Titans and if they cannot stop the rot they will be in big trouble as the last four games of the regular season are tough.
They face the Panthers, Broncos, Roosters and Eels.
The Warriors made a controversial decision at the weekend when leaving gun fullback Reece Walsh on the bench. It did not help matters as they lost to the Raiders and there is now talk that the Queenslander could be on the move.
Walsh has already agreed a deal with the Broncos from the start of 2023 and the Warriors are planning for life without him. He may not figure much between now and the end of the season and that could open the door for a move to the Storm.
Bellamy has just lost gun fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen for the rest of the season due to injury and a loan move for Walsh would be ideal. If the Warriors will agree to it that is.
Speculation is also mounting that the Storm could also make an approach for former wing-wizard Addo-Carr as they attempt to save their season.
The Foxx left the Storm for the Canterbury Bulldogs at the end of last season, signing a three-year deal. Melbourne are desperate to sign outside backs and there has been talk of taking Addo-Carr back for the remainder of the season.
Melbourne have until the 1st August deadline to get any deals done and time is fast running out.