NRL referees have come under fire after failing to let the action flow in Canterbury’s 16-12 win over Manly at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
Manly players remonstrated on-field and premiership-winning coach and commentator Phil Gould likened the officiating to that of under-6s game after the Sea Eagles were repeatedly called back to play the ball for walking off the mark.
The Sea Eagles’ momentum was dampened on multiple key occasions, much to the frustration of the home side.
Gould said on Channel Nine commentary the play should have been allowed to go on.
Stand-in Manly skipper Brett Stewart was one of the Manly players to take up his case with the referees on the field but bit his tongue after the game.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey also offered a no comment but hinted at his displeasure.
“I can’t comment on it, I don’t know what recourse I’ve got,” Toovey said.
Canterbury prop Aiden Tolman said the referees were attempting to maintain a fine line between officiating a free-flowing game and giving the defensive side a fair chance.
“I think there were a few boys just getting off the mark,” Tolman said.
“It’s hard sometimes, they’re trying to speed up that ruck but at the same time it’s hard for the markers to get square and players were rolling off the mark. I think that’s what they were pulling it back for and I guess that’s fair enough.