Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

NRL: Rough justice from the man who monitors the video

Kevin Locke makes a dive for the try line for a disallowed try against the Canterbury Bulldogs. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kevin Locke makes a dive for the try line for a disallowed try against the Canterbury Bulldogs. Photo / Richard Robinson

All teams experience the rough with the smooth in refereeing decisions, even in the pinpoint business of video forensics.

The Warriors got a bit of rough when the guy in the sky ruled out a Kevin Locke try that would have swung the game their way against the Bulldogs.

Locke's angled run off a Feleti Mateo pass saw him skid into the corner but the man with his finger on the button, Pat Reynolds, ruled Locke had not grounded the ball.

Common sense said that, somewhere in the tangle, ball would have touched ground. Replays appeared to show otherwise, with no conclusive proof of the try. In this exactness, sport goes out of its way to deny rather than reward attack.

The Bulldogs dodged a bullet and then had the Warriors in the gun, with a scintillating length-of-the-field try and another clever score to seal the game.

Brian McClennan's Warriors are operating on a split personality after three rounds. Their defensive instincts, speed and formations on the flanks are suspect, especially early on. Their attack, particularly when Feleti Mateo and James Maloney are involved, can be exceptional. Against type, big Mateo puts the brave little ball runner Maloney into gaps. Shaun Johnson is still finding his dancing feet and things aren't quite going right for Locke, the other jack-in-the-box attacker.

To use the old phrase, Mateo is worth the admission price alone. He is a big strong ballrunner, throws wonderful flat passes, like the one that sparked the Warriors' comeback, can scoop the ball out of a clutch of tacklers or deceive with a no-look special. He is among the Warriors' finest foreign signings, alongside the likes of Steve Price, Micheal Luck, Kevin Campion and Maloney.

But Mateo's brilliance off the bench wasn't enough against the Bulldogs, who clung on before applying two superb killer blows.

- NZ Herald

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