There I was on Sunday afternoon, watching an improbable upset unfold at Brookvale oval until Jarred Maxwell decided to listen to Jamie Buhrer and check a potential high tackle on Daly Cherry-Evans after a line drop out had been decided by the referees.
This without a doubt was the turning point in the match and Jarryd Hayne had every right to blow up deluxe. Since when does a referee take advice from a player who is on a team behind by two points late in the match? To further highlight the inequities between high profile teams and also rans, in the lead up to the try that won the match for Manly, there was a sideways play the ball by a Manly player that should have been penalised. Imagine the howls of disgust from the Manly faithful if a penalty was awarded against them, in possession under two minutes to play? Geoff Toovey would have spontaneously combusted! Still, it would have been the correct decision.
Maxwell deserves a long stint in either the NSW Cup or Under 20’s for a decision that unfairly decided the outcome of a close match.
I just can’t help thinking if the roles were reversed, would Parramatta have been awarded the penalty? I doubt it.
There has always been the urban myth about poor performing teams being constantly shafted by the officials because no one really cares about their place on the ladder and their voice doesn’t carry as much weight as some other, more “high profile”teams.
Sure, we can’t expect perfection as referees are human, but Maxwell’s performance certainly merits closer scrutiny and sits alongside Bill Harrigan’s ëffort””in 2002 when the Eels played the Knights and he penalised Parramatta out of the game.
Is there a pre-conceived or subconscious bias against teams like Parramatta? It certainly looks that way but until the officials are held accountable for game changing decisions in favour of the higher profile and/or home team, I doubt we will see much change in the outcome of such matches!