How many great tries have we seen disappear in the NRL this year?

Full-field runs, beautiful set plays, scintillating skill, a plethora of breathtaking moments, all stripped away because of the NRL's new bunker system.

Worth more than $2 million, the bunker was brought in to try and speed up the video refereeing process and provide clearer and more consistent decisions.

However, it's been met with nothing but controversy.


Rules and interpretations, especially the obstruction rule, have come back to bite the NRL with the letter of the law trumping common sense.

If anything, the bunker has sometimes slowed the game down, provided inconsistent decisions and infuriated fans, players and coaches.

So what has this multi-million dollar system given us? We take a look at seven of the worst bunker calls this season.

7. Warriors - Round 5 (No Penalty Try)

Ryan Hoffman was fuming. Not only on April 3 when he was denied a penalty try against the Roosters, but also on June 25 when the Sharks were awarded one for almost the same offense.

On April 3, in the 22nd minute, the Warriors were down by four points when Hoffman was clearly held back on his way to a kick chase.

The Bunker ruled no try and no penalty try, yet the on-field referee ruled a penalty.

Which begs all sorts of questions. What constitutes a penalty try? Why was it a penalty and not a penalty try? Why didn't the player get sent off for 10?

Regardless of whether you think it's a penalty try or not, if the penalty was for a player impeding another player's ability to score a try, it's a professional foul and 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Contrast that to June 25 when Jayson Bukuya was impeded by Simon Mannering and the bunker awarded a penalty try, in a game which the Warriors lost in golden point.

6. Panthers - Round 9 (Field Goal Attempt)

The round nine clash between the Panthers and Raiders was an absolute nail biter.

A last minute field goal sealed the win for the Panthers, but it wasn't without some bunker controversy.

After the kick had gone over, the referee went upstairs to check a potential obstruction in the build up.

Replays showed a clear obstruction of Paul Vaughan by Trent Merrin.

While Vaughn sold the act, Merrin is shown wrapping his arms around the Raider which would impede him from charging down the kick.

The call is contentious and leaves a lot to be interpreted.

Where the controversy lies is that the call isn't consistent with how the bunker has been ruling on obstructions throughout the season.

Even the slightest amount of contact has amounted to an obstruction call in most cases which makes this pill a hard one to swallow.

5. Cowboys - Round 4 (Michael Morgan No Try)

It was a rematch of the 2015 NRL Grand Final.

The Broncos and Cowboys met in just the fourth round and, like their title battle, this one also went to golden point.

However, when the Cowboys were down 14-12 in the 65th minute, they dotted over the line courtesy of Michael Morgan.

The decision went upstairs and the bunker ruled Ethan Lowe had impeded his corresponding defender.

It was the first big obstruction call of the season and would cost the Cowboys as they lost in golden point.

The ruling was interesting for a number of reasons. It seemed as though the Broncos defender had taken the bait of the lead runner and actually wrapped his arms around him.

Secondly, the obstruction happened so far away from the eventual try, its actual impact is questionable.

4. Roosters - Round 10 (Jake Friend No Try)

It's situations like this where you want common sense to prevail.

The Roosters were down by two points against the Titans just before halftime.

They thought they had gained the lead when Jake Friend crossed the line after his team went 70m.

However Latrell Mitchell was ruled to have obstructed Ash Taylor in the lead up to the try.

The call was problematic for two reasons. Firstly, Taylor was already following the support runner suggesting he wasn't in a position to turn and tackle the ball carrier.

Secondly, Daniel Tupou had cut inside while Taylor still continued towards the sideline.

While the law states a player cannot carry the ball behind a support runner, the impact of that event on the overall play itself was almost nought.

3. Bulldogs - Round 17 (Josh Jackson Try)

The Bulldogs were trailing the Roosters 14-12 after 55 minutes in a game where momentum would prove the difference.

Josh Jackson received a pass from dummy half and seemed to tumble over the tryline with all evidence suggesting he was being held up by Aidan Guerra.

However, teammate Michael Lichaa came in and helped Jackson press the ball down.

Not only is this illegal, but Jackson was also held up for close to three seconds before planting the ball.

As the commentators suggested, how long does a player get to ground the ball?

The bunker ruled that Lichaa hadn't interfered with the defender and the try was given.

The NRL referee's elite performance manager, Tony Archer, later criticised the call saying the wrong decision had been made.

2. Sharks - Round 20 (Ben Barba No Try)

Once again, the letter of the law came in the way of an unbelievable try.

Ben Barba topped off an amazing inside ball from Paul Gallen by running 50m and dotting down in the corner.

However, the try was pulled back for an apparent obstruction by Michael Ennis.

Law enthusiasts will say the call was correct, but the obstruction was so minute, and Barba's pace off the pass so great, that it had no bearing on whether or not he would score the try.

It didn't cost the Sharks the game, but it certainly was a talking point.

1. Rabbitohs - Round 20 (Joe Burgess No Try)

It was easily the biggest bunker blunder of the season.

The decision not to award Joe Burgess a crucial try effectively ended the Rabbitohs season as they went down to the Sea Eagles 20-12.

The bunker ruled that Joe Burgess lost control of the football as he went to plant the ball down over the line.

However, replays suggest that the Burgess had a clear hand on the ball as he placed it down.

The decision sent the rugby league world into melt down with former players and commentators calling it an absolute howler.

What many are most frustrated about is the fact video referee Ashley Klein ignored the onfield call from referee Henry Perenara. Perenara had given the try, meaning the bunker would need significant evidence to overturn the decision.

It seemed like the call was contentious enough to stick with the onfield call.

It caps a turbulent year for the bunker which will come under rigorous review from players and coaches at the end of the season.