Controversial NRL call sparks fierce debate

A penalty try awarded in the first half of the Eels’ clash with the Dragons has divided rugby league experts and fans online.

In the 11th minute, The Bunker awarded Matt Dufty a penalty try after ruling Eels forward Nathan Brown impeded the Dragons fullback’s run to the line.

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Footage shows Brown grab Dufty’s shirt as he chases the ball, causing him to slip and collide with the goalpost.

Referee Grant Atkins sent the play upstairs for review by The Bunker, where a penalty try was ruled appropriate.

“In our opinion, Matt Dufty would have got the ball first which will constitute a penalty try,” said senior review official Henry Perenara from The Bunker.

According to Section 6 (d) of the Rugby League Laws Of The Game, 2020 edition, “The Referee may award a penalty try if, in his opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team”.

Experts and punters online were conflicted about whether Dufty would have reached the ball first.

Even Fox League commentators Andrew Voss and Greg Alexander joined the debate in their call of the match.

“I think he gets there. I’m going to say he gets there before it bounces again … Normally I’m very conservative on those types of decisions but I just think Dufty was running that fast,” Alexander said.

“You’re ignoring, though, the impact of goalpost,” Voss replied.

While a penalty try was awarded for Brown’s professional foul, he was allowed to remain on the field, with Atkins opting not to send the lock forward to the sin bin.

It seems like the bunker has a time limit sometimes when they make drastic calls like that. @MasonsTake 🤦🏽‍♂️

Some have disagreed but I think it was a penalty try . Brown got to the ball .. and well Dufty is a little quicker than him. you can't say "oh he may have lost balance". Brown inrerferred then got to ball before it went dead so GOOD CALL for mine #NRL#[email protected]

Penalty try??!!

No way. I hate the way this is interpreted these days.#NRLEelsDragons

Personally I don't think that's a penalty try, but it's definitely a sin bin professional foul. #NRLEelsDragons#NRL#RedV

It was the Dragons’ second try of the night, after a beautiful ball from Duty sent star recruit Jack Bird over in the 6th minute.

It was Bird’s first try for the joint venture.Source:Getty Images

The Eels’ second half assignment became a whole lot tougher when St. George flyer Mikaele Ravalawa jumped over to extend the lead eight minutes before halftime.

“What haven’t they done well tonight, the Dragons!” said Voss just before the break.

The Dragons went into the break 18-0.

After Tariq Sims was sin-binned early in the second term for repeated ruck infringements, the Eels opened their account through Isaiah Papali’i.

Papali’i has hit a strong patch of form since arriving from the Warriors this season.

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