Bennett: Poor referee decisions prove costly

Published 11:47am 24 August 2023

Bennett: Poor referee decisions prove costly
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins NRL Head Coach Wayne Bennett is looking forward to ‘honest’ discussions with the NRL at the end of the season after poor referee decisions on four occasions in recent weeks cost his side victory and possibly a spot in the finals.

“Well, there’s been about four of them. I could go on all day about it but nothing’s going to change. That’s always the problem Monday morning when they tell you they got it wrong. That’s not going to change anything,” he says.

“We’ll keep moving on and, as I said, hope we get to the end of the year and have some honesty with the game and the game can have some honesty with the clubs and say we do need to make some changes here.

“Certainly, the no-try one last week was kind of unbelievable because you’ve got a situation … the bunker … where they have ample time to make decisions. I understand sometimes with the refs but not in the bunker. I’m pretty unforgiving about the bunker getting things wrong.

“They’ve got a number of replays in front of them, a number of assets that you don’t have on the field but the biggest asset they’ve got in time and the ability to review it time and time again.

|“They’ve passed it as a try … there was no one who saw that incident who thought it was a try. Anyway, it happened. It won’t change anything now. We’ll just have to move on.”|

Bennett was referring to an incident in which Kodi Nikorima was taken out of play and unable to defend the line, resulting in a Wests Tigers’ try.

“At the end of the year we’ll have a decent review about a whole lot of stuff in the game at the moment … around the rules and around the decision making. I hope we can get better going forward,” Bennett says.

“It’s not so much the rules. It’s probably the interpretation.”

Bennett: Poor referee decisions prove costly

Facing the Cowboys

For now, the Super Coach and his team are looking ahead to their clash against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night (8pm kick-off).

Bennett says it is a big game for the Cowboys but also for the Dolphins who want to win their final two games in 2023.

His squad will need to be ready for a fired-up opponent and will need to defend well.

“Not give up soft tries. I think that’s been the biggest challenge with our game this year. We’ve given up too many soft tries. NRL is a tough game and a tough contest out there each week … when you give up soft tries, and we’ve given up a lot, it has impacted on our season more than any other one thing,” he says.

“Of all the things that may have impacted on our season, it’s been the soft tries that has cost us more than anything else.”

The Dolphins will be missing captain Jesse Bromwich (groin) and Robert Jennings (knee).

JJ Collins will come into the middle forwards and Euan Aitken will return to the centres. Isaiya Katoa will be in the starting 17 instead of on the bench as planned.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow returns to fullback after a week out with concussion and Kodi Nikorima will move to five-eighth.

The side will also welcome back Kenny Bromwich and Connelly Lemuelu from concussion protocol.

Bennett says there are three or four players who can play in the centres, so it made sense to move Tabuai-Fidow back to the position where he plays best.

“He likes playing there and we like having him there,” he says.

Like most fans, Bennett is looking forward to watching Tabuai-Fidow face-off against the Cowboys’ Scott Drinkwater.

“Drinkwater is a great player and Hammer … we all know what he brings. I was pleased to be able to put him back at fullback. I thought the game would have been missing something if he wasn’t at fullback.

“He played wonderfully in Townsville, Hammer, when we played up there four months ago. I’m looking forward to the contest again tomorrow night.”

See photos from training here (click through)

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