NRL 2020: Phil Gould blows up over three bunker calls in Dragons win over Eels

Rugby league great Phil Gould has taken aim at the NRL’s bunker, pointing out a series of baffling calls as the St George Illawarra Dragons defeated the Parramatta Eels 14-12.

At a soaked Bankwest Stadium, the Dragons sent departing coach Paul McGregor out a winner in incredible scenes.

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But Gould highlighted several cases he was baffled by the bunker’s decisions.

Taking to Twitter after the match, Gould pointed out three calls he said were “wrong”.

“They got the Corey Norman strip wrong. They got the Kaide Ellis try wrong. I think the Mahoney try should’ve been given. 95% chance he scored it. 5% chance he didn’t score it. They go with the 5% every time. As for Parramatta Eels, I’m asking fans what they thought,” he said.

The first came in the first half when the Dragons kept their captain’s challenge early in first half with Norman deemed to have had the ball raked.

In the Channel 9 coverage of the game, Eels legend Peter Sterling said it was a dropped ball.

“He drops it, loses it. The hand was in a vulnerable place from Dylan Brown, but he moves it,” Sterling said.

“He actually brings the ball out with the back of his hand. How do you rake the ball with the back of your hand?”

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Gould agreed that Norman just dropped the ball.

“He drops it,” he said. “His (Brown‘s) arm is dragged back from the other defender. He’s got him by the elbow, that’s how the ball comes loose.”

Dylan Brown was deemed to have raked the ball with the back of his hand.Source:FOX SPORTS

The Dragons got a penalty for the call and scored off the next set with Mikaele Ravalawa scoring a winger’s acrobatic try in the corner.

The next two decisions came in the final 20 minutes with the game on the line.

Locked at 12-all, the Dragons looked to have scored a go-ahead try through reserve forward Kaide Ellis.

Dragons half Ben Hunt kicked the ball into the Eels’ Reed Mahoney, with the ball ricocheting for the charging Ellis.

But on replay, it was taken off the forward with Parramatta‘s Junior Paulo touching the ball as Ellis made the slightest bobble.

On Channel 9, Phil Gould again took aim at the bunker for looking for any reason to deny a try.

“They make it too complicated,” Gould said. ”They look for too much. You don‘t referee the game with a magnifying glass.

“I must be getting too old. That‘s a try in any era, in any decade. In any era! They look for the one-percent chance to overrule things, they really do.

“It‘s kind of like they want to find something none of us can see. Don’t start me. I’m going for a walk.”

Is this a knock on?Source:FOX SPORTS

But Mahoney was off-side and the Dragons kicked ahead 14-12.

Mahoney almost became a hero at the other end of the field after he was the only onside player for a Blake Ferguson kick with the Eels dummy half diving full length and grounding the ball what was deemed to be just on the dead ball line.

But sent upstairs as a try, Gould said he didn’t understand why it was taken off the Eels.

“There‘s a blade of grass in that,” Gould said.

“To be honest, I haven‘t seen vision where the ball isn’t on the line. I don’t know how they definitively disallow that.”

Should Reid Mahoney have been awarded the try?Source:FOX SPORTS

Gould has been a vocal critic of the bunker this season, particularly slamming obstructions as well as the Matt Dufty bunker howler against the Sharks last month.

Speaking on 100% Footy last month, Gould, in a rant on all officials, saved a vicious barb for bunker.

“You may as well not send it to the bunker now because they don‘t have a clue what they’re doing, they don’t know how to make a decision,” he said. “So much so that Matt Cecchin said ‘nope, try again’ — he sent the bunker back to the bunker.”

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