An NRL video referee has been demoted after a Bunker decision potentially robbed the Canberra Raiders of a much-needed victory during Saturday afternoon's clash against the Warriors.
The Raiders were leading by two points when Canberra forward Corey Horsburgh tackled rival prop Matt Lodge 15 metres out from the tryline with less than two minutes remaining on the clock.
The Warriors players immediately threw their arms in air to indicate Horsburgh's tackle was high, but replays showed that his first contact was with Lodge's forearm before sliding up and making minimal contact with the head.
Boos echoed around Moreton Daily Stadium as Lodge lay on the deck clutching at his face — Wests Tigers great Steve Roach accused him of "playing for the penalty".
"It was ordinary, I hate blokes lying down," he said.
"It's an unwritten law. Even if a coach told me to do it, I wouldn't."
But the commentators were left gobsmacked when Horsburgh was put on report and the Warriors were awarded a penalty following a Bunker review.
Teenage phenom Reece Walsh made no mistake with the penalty kick, equalling the scores and sending the game to Golden Point.
"I can't believe it was a penalty," former Queensland representative Brent Tate fumed on Fox League.
"We go back to the problem we have with the Bunker interfering in games. I don't know what to say to be honest, it just was not a penalty at all, it was a very soft one.
"There is no dangerous contact with his head at all and as a result we've got players laying down, it's just not a great look for our game at all."
The Warriors ultimately claimed a one-point Golden Point victory, with halfback Shaun Johnson booting a field goal in extra time to secure the comeback win.
Speaking on Fox League's NRL 360, The Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield confirmed that video referee Steve Chiddy has been dropped following the costly error.
"Good on the NRL," he said on Wednesday evening.
"That decision there cost the Canberra Raiders two competition points.
"It was a common sense decision that wasn't reportable."
Earlier in the Round 8 contest, Lodge was placed on report for raising his elbow into the face of Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera while carrying the ball.
The 26-year-old copped a $1000 fine for what the match review committee deemed grade-one dangerous contact, but New South Wales Blues coach Brad Fittler was not impressed.
"Matt Lodge elbows a bloke in the head, and just gets penalised, then lies down after getting a little tap on the forward and draws the penalty that draws the game and gives them a chance to win," he told Channel 9's Sunday Footy Show on the weekend.
"I thought that was awful. That was a bad elbow, got him straight in the head. He only got penalised.
"If I'm in the Bunker … they had absolutely no feel for the game. I saw that, I'm going, 'There's no way in the world I'm giving a penalty in this situation'. He barely touched him.
"(His elbow should be) minimum sin bin. Minimum. Seriously. It was straight at his head."
Canberra will next face the Canterbury Bulldogs at GIO Stadium on Friday evening.