Angry Dragons boss Peter Doust has slammed the NRL for its timekeeping gaffe, claiming St George Illawarra deserve the two competition points after referees’ boss Tony Archer admitted the joint venture team was dudded.
A dramatic day in the aftermath of the Dragons’ after-the-siren loss against Melbourne on Monday night saw:
■Archer admit on-field referee Matt Cecchin had erred by ‘‘less than a second’’ in allowing the Storm to play the ball after the full-time siren had sounded, triggering Young Tonumaipea’s match-winning try;
■Doust vow to take up the fight with the NRL over the points after he claimed the decision could cost the Dragons a finals spot – and spin-off bonuses like club revenue;
■Cecchin retain his spot for round seven after he was appointed to the Tigers-Eels clash on Monday night;
■Dragons coach Steve Price claim his side were ‘‘hurting’’ as they landed back in Sydney
Doust wrote to the NRL’s head of football Todd Greenberg via email on Tuesday, morning asking to launch an investigation into the incident and whether the two competition points should be awarded to the Dragons.
He was yet to receive a response when speaking to the Mercury on Tuesday evening.
But he made his feelings clear on the issue, which resulted in a third straight loss for St George Illawarra as they were on the brink of ending a 15-year hoodoo in Melbourne.
‘‘I can’t understand the delineation of the time and siren,’’ Doust said. ‘‘I can understand intuitive and interpretive decisions during the game, but the time and siren should be more definitive.
‘‘A try was scored after the game was over. We believe the rules should have prevented the try being scored. I can’t say I’m very much happy with the circumstances after what’s been revealed and the facts have been assessed.
‘‘Let’s say by the time we get to the end of the year these two points could cost us a finals spot and in turn money. I would want to think two points at the end of the year could be very valuable.’’
Doust’s stance came shortly after the NRL issued a statement to admit match officials should have called time before the Storm produced one of the most memorable finishes to a game in recent memory.
Archer fronted the media on Tuesday and explained the NRL would adopt a countdown system – in which the video referee talks to the on-field officials through an earpiece – as early as this week.
‘‘It’s a very, very difficult decision and it’s in real time,’’ Archer said. ‘‘For us to determine he was incorrect it took freeze frame and it took us a long time to achieve that.
‘‘When we go frame by frame in less than a second they’re incorrect.’’
It did little to appease Doust, who said St George Illawarra were already abiding by the NRL’s new concussion laws and defended the last 30 seconds with only 12 men.
Joel Thompson left the field midway through the second half and wasn’t passed fit to return after 15 minutes on the sidelines.
It meant the Dragons forfeited their free interchange, forcing Price to haul Dan Hunt off the field after they had earlier used all 10 replacements.
Said Doust: ‘‘What if we had done the reverse? If we had defied the rules and played with an extra player on the field who says we wouldn’t have won the game?’’