League legends have doubled down on criticism of NRL Bunker after a surprise moment during the 11th round.
It came in the first game of the round and proved to be extremely costly for Newcastle and undoubtedly helped Brisbane to a massive win.
Bunker overcomes a straight forward obstacle that blocks Knight defender Adam Clooney and allows the Broncos to spread the ball to Selvin Cobbo, who tries to score.
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Knights captain Calin Ponga and coach Adam O’Brien were surprised by the explanations from officials.
On Saturday, football NRL chief Graham Annecy defended Bunker’s call, saying it could fall by any means.
Knights burnt in bizarre bunker calls
Knights legend Andrew Johns was furious during the game, and even more so when Annely’s reaction was told.
“I just laughed. What I’m doing … is ridiculous,” Johns said on Nine’s Sunday Footy show.
Johns was equally fascinated by the previous bunker call, where a Dan Gagai attempt was thwarted because a slow replay showed a millisecond separation between his hand and the ball.
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“Bunker should see two in real time, not super super slow-mo. Check it out in real time, check it out twice, try it if it feels like trying,” Johns said Sunday.
“It takes a long time. The bunker was brought in to stop the wailing, and now the bunker is making wails.”
Knight responds to controversial costly calls
Fellow legend Brad Fitler agrees that Bunker is wasting too much time playing games.
He was shocked by the non-stop call against the Knights, but also saw an incident the next night that shocked him.
Bunker awarded Paramatta a penalty against Manley, but it took time to confuse Fitler.
“It was early in the game and it took two minutes 20 (seconds) … you can tell in 10 seconds (it was a penalty),” Fitler told the footy show.
“The reason for the bunker is that the referee can see things when he is fixing things in the game, getting control of the game. Ten seconds (it should have been taken) … it’s killing the game, it’s killing the rhythm of the game and the fatigue of the game.
“The game is about fatigue. The best teams manage fatigue well, and that’s the difference. Two minutes 20, I was asleep.”
Although Slater disagreed with Johns’ idea of improving the bunker, he believed Thursday’s error would not have been resolved through a different system.
He said bunker official Grant Atkins simply got the call wrong.
“It was a nightmare, and that explanation (from Annecy) was wrong,” Slater said.
“It’s an obstacle. It hinders his vision, it prevents him from going to tackle. It affects the drama.”
“It’s an obstacle. You can’t stop a defender.”
Annesley will speak at her weekly news conference on Monday.
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