RABBITOHS 26 DRAGONS 6
For all his frustration and dismay at a penalty count caning, the Dragons coach Steve Price could still find some humour in it all.
‘‘It’s been a while since you’ve seen two wingers on report,’’ he joked after St George Illawarra’s loss to South Sydney on Saturday night, fuelled by a lopsided penalty count – 8-1 at one stage.
He may have had cause for a lighter moment as the second-half indiscretions of international wingers Brett Morris (shoulder charge) and Jason Nightingale (high tackle) barely appeared to warrant penalties.
He confirmed he’ll ‘‘look at them again’’ before judging.
However other offences by frustrated Dragons players which didn’t go on report may cause Price concern.
Joel Thompson appeared to put his hands between the legs of Greg Inglis late in the first half as the Rabbitohs’ No1 gun got into an awkward position. Jack de Belin also sent Sam Burgess spiralling to the turf in an incident likely to come to the attention of the match review committee.
The NRL will issue charges stemming from round-five action on Monday.
Morris’s shoulder charge on Jason Clark, who was bracing for a collision with the Dragons flyer as he contested a kick, may have appeared innocuous, but the Dragons have been shocked in the past.
Josh Dugan felled Matt Moylan last year in a challenge when the Panthers fullback had raced through and chipped his opposite number. It didn’t even attract the attention of the on-field officials, but the Dragons were later bemused to find Dugan slapped with a grade-one shoulder charge.
He accepted a one-game ban.
Price used his press conference after the Heritage Round clash on Saturday night to criticise the penalty count.
He took particular umbrage at a no-try decision against Dugan, who lost control of the ball before placing two hands on it as it hit the turf.
‘‘I was definitely confident that I scored it,’’ Dugan said. ‘‘I grounded it with two hands so I don’t know how that is not having control of the ball. It would have been a massive turning point in the game.’’ Added Price: ‘‘It clearly showed he had two hands on the ball when he grounded it.’’
Souths scored two minutes later to pad their half-time lead to 14-0 – a margin the Dragons never looked like clawing back.
The NRL tweaked the law this year to state players must have full control of the ball again before grounding it. Price indicated he would take up the issue with referees’ boss Tony Archer, who couldn’t be reached for comment on Sunday.
One topic of conversation between the pair will be the Dragons’ poor discipline, which cruelled any chance they had against the premiership heavyweights.
Dragons skipper Ben Creagh said his side were ‘‘confused’’ by the rulings of referees Gavin Badger and Alan Shortall, while Price complained about a perceived leniency shown to the Rabbitohs.
‘‘We were up in the box with Sports Ears and there was over 30 times the second marker was called not square,’’ he said. ‘‘Penalise him.’’