Matthew Elliott became the latest coach to blast referees before admitting the Warriors would have to win 11 of their remaining 17 games to make the finals.
Speaking after his side’s thrilling 28-18 loss to Melbourne at AAMI Park, Elliott said the NRL referees department had admitted to three crucial errors in the round six loss to Canberra and predicted they would be forced to admit to two further gaffes on Anzac night.
Elliott said the Aucklanders, who have just one win so far this season, were wrongly denied a 40-20 kick late in the contest and there was a forward pass in the lead-up to Will Chambers’ epic 72nd minute clincher.
“The similarity between that game and Canberra will be that refs will have to put their hands up for making errors,” said Elliott after a sprawling contest in front of 25,480 fans.
“They did it at the back end of the Canberra game, in their report, where there were three calls that went against us that were incorrect.
“In their second last try (tonight), from where I was sitting, it looked like it was not a little bit forward but a long way forward
“I’ve seen the 40-20 call made on whether the kicker was behind or in front of the line – I haven’t seen the 40-20 call made about where the ball went out. They moved where the touch judge signalled it.
”How often have you heard me whinging about refs?
“We’ll be over the ditch, it won’t matter.”
Asked if the refereeing difficulties were peculiar to the Warriors, Elliott answered: “Ask the referees boss (Daniel Anderson) . He’s an ex-Warriors coach. Ask him how he felt about it.
“The formula for us is that there’s 17 games to go and I think we’ve got to win 11 of them. It’s a big ask in the NRL but I know this group of people are capable of it.”
Storm coach Craig Bellamy – who said there “could have been” a forward pass before Chambers’ second try – was unhappy with his charges at halftime.
“There’s been better sprays,” he said of his halftime address, “but I just thought we needed to get back to what we do best.
“There were a couple of things we just had to get better at. They were strong words but they needed saying.”
Captain Cameron Smith agreed, saying: “That first half, it was unlike us”
While Elliott backed the decision for Shaun Johnson to boot a 68th minute penalty goal for an 18-16 lead, Smith said his men often decided not to do so in similar situations.
“Thankfully, in the end, they took the two because if it had been six it would have been a totally different ball game,” said Smith.
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD