Cowboys coach Todd Payten has become smoky after his team managed two controversial and crucial calls in their 26-12 loss to the Sharks, who turned the match in the visitors’ favor.
In the first half, Coen Hess cost his team two points after being pinged for tackling a player without a ball before Jason Taumalolo was denied a try, which would have given his team the lead in the second half.
With 59 minutes played, Taumalolo put themselves up 0 – 1 after an attack from the right, caused by a defensive blunder. The scorer was Reece Robson.
Payten made a big call and suggested that Sharks defenders deliberately dive into the Cowboys supporter, explaining that they would not have been able to stop Taumalolo anyway.
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“A couple of the big moments undoubtedly went against us that one hurts and they go down and score an attempt that should have been stopped,” Payten said at the post-match press conference.
“The game is in balance, I do not like it, solely because it rewards the player for having a play off, and so the fact that he deliberately runs up in the support game.
“I also don’t know how to stop Jason, he would have pushed him further into the goal.”
Captain Jasom Taumalolo was just as confused and questioned what his whore should do.
“Robbo (Robson) supported me and he was obviously there and what is he meant to do, he can not disappear and make room for him,” Taumalolo said.
“He was there for the support if I passed it.”
During Fox League live coverage, commentator Steve Roach reiterated Payten’s view that the defenders would never have been able to stop Taumalolo.
“I don’t really agree with that, but that’s the rule,” Steve Roach said.
“He could not make an attempt, but I do not think he would have stopped him.”
Brent Tate was highly critical of the obstruction rule in the wake of the crucial call that would have given the Cowboys an 18-14 lead with 20 minutes left.
“It’s a ridiculous rule,” Tate said.
“I just do not understand that. When we talk about the feel of the game and letting the game flow. It’s just a really stupid decision.
“We’re talking about common sense, and there’s just no common sense in that rule or that decision.”
Brenton Speed pointed out that Robson was behind Taumalolo before being tackled and then retiring, but was caught by Sharks defenders.
“Robson was behind Taumalolo, who was then tackled, and Robson’s momentum took him past him,” Speed said.
“He was only in the front for a short while. He was behind as a supporter and then goes past and can not disappear and they take it from them.”
Earlier in the game, Hess were given a chance to change things around.
The incident that came in the 29th minute when the Sharks led 12-6 saw the ball go behind a charge Finucane to the Sharks bench forward Cameron McInnes, who was wrapped up by the Cowboys defense.
With try-line begging, Hess completed the tackle on Finucane, but was pinged by referee Adam Gee to tackle a player without a ball.
“You can not just nail him without the ball,” Gee told Hess.
Cowboys skipper Chad Townsend protested the call with Gee, believing Hess had no choice but to tackle Finucane, who would likely have scored if he got the ball, and Hess did not intervene.
“It can not be a punishment because it’s on his outside shoulder,” Townsend said.
“If he beats him, it’s an attempt.
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“He has hit Coen’s outer shoulder. Take a look. ”
Roach could not understand what Gee expected Hess to do when the test line was right there.
“It’s not a bad challenge there,” Roach said.
“It will not change their minds, but Chad Townsend knows the rules.
“He’s off the shoulder there. He’s right. He ran almost directly into him.
“What will Hess do disappear?”
Payten agreed with both Townsend and Roach, explaining that the contact was made on the outside shoulder, a “black-and-white” rule that has been constant throughout the season.
“I do not know what Coen should do when a guy is a meter away from the tryline and runs 100 miles per hour and wants to score an attempt, then he goes out to commit to the tackle,” Payten said.
“It’s him on his outside shoulder too, who’s black and white, it’s been all season, so a little confusing and disappointing.”
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Brenton Speed agreed that the call should have been played on.
“There’s not much contact there,” Speed said.
“He’s taking him down, but he does not want to show Finucane.”
“You only have to touch him with a feather there and he will fall over to try to get a penalty,” Roach added.
Michael Ennis thought it should have been 12-12 at the break, with the Sharks giving two points at the hard penalty decision.
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“I thought the punishment was embarrassing, to be honest,” Ennis said.
Meanwhile, Gorden Tallis said the penalty could have gone the other way to prevent Hess from making a tackle if the Cowboys scored.
“If they score, you would say Coen Hess was denied the opportunity to come in and tackle, so that’s a strange one.”