Call it how you like. The All Blacks writhed their way clear again or the Wallabies squandered another shot at transtasman glory.
Whichever theory you subscribe too, it was impossible not to punch in the impact of referee Alan Lewis, the perma-tanned Irishman who seemed to have an eye scanned for Wallaby mischief rather than All Black indiscretions. Ruck time, scrum time, it did not seem to matter.
Capping Lewis' indifference was his miss of the final-quarter forward pass which All Black captain Richie McCaw grabbed sweetly at ankle height to slide over and break the deadlock. It was a marvellous collect by McCaw who also had to deal with the scavenging challenges from George Smith, Phil Waugh and David Pocock throughout the test.
But the Wallabies should have had a scrum. Instead they were behind for the first time in the test.
It was a significant decision as the scoreline did not shift again.
The All Blacks were 3-1 series winners and could fly to Britain in a contented mood after their long break, confident they could attack the Grand Slam challenge again. Had Lewis caught the late infringement, it would have been a Wallaby scrum feed - though on the evidence of the referee's judgment during the test, he probably would have penalised the Australians at the put-in.
Wallaby coach Robbie Deans was too cagey to offer any assessment on the referee but his comments were telling.
He felt the Wallaby scrum had improved all season and had shown that calibre again at the Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday. So did he think Lewis or the officials carried some preconceived idea about its fragility?
"You can ask them," Deans began before he pointedly added, "you can draw your own conclusions."
He thought his side had been more deserving of a win in this fourth meeting between the sides this season but they were still not good enough. His team would have to adapt to referees and whatever rules they played under.
Skipper Stirling Mortlock thought his team had played with improved discipline. "But we still gave them territory, penalties and possession and it hurt us."