NRL round 17: SOUTH SYDNEY 30 WARRIORS 13 at nib Stadium, Perth

By STEVE MASCORD
FORMER Western Reds ballboy Bryson Goodwin overcame being steamrolled by rampaging Warrior Konrad Hurrell to complete a fairytale homecoming with a brace of tries in South Sydney’s fifth consecutive win.
Centre Hurrell, 102 kg, swatted Goodwin like a fly and prompted a head clash between Greg Inglis and Chris McQueen as they tried to stop him scoring a powerhouse try in the 37th minute of the Rabbitohs’ 30-13 win in front of a near-sellout 20,221 fans at nib Stadium.
But Goodwin, a West Australian junior, enjoyed redemption by kicking ahead for himself in the 68th minute to put the bunnies back in front and then followed up by scooping up a loose ball to streak away for his second eight minutes later.
“I grew up in WA, it’s good to come home here and yeah, I was a ballboy for the Reds for two years,” said Goodwin.
“I remember (Hurrell) putting me on my backside. He’s one of the hardest players to tackle, I got myself in the wrong position.
“It’s not a setback, that’s going to happen on the footy field, you’re going to miss tackles. It’s just one of those things that happens.”
The Rabbitohs were under the pump at halftime with Hurrell’s try, converted by Shaun Johnson, followed by a Johnson field goal which gave the Aucklanders a 13-6 halftime lead.
“He’s scored a couple like that for us this year, to be fair,” said Warriors coach Matthew Elliott. “You don’t like to take that sort of stuff for granted but if you give him one-on-one opportunities, he’s pretty scary.”
John Sutton claimed a kick to narrow the margin to one eight minutes into the second half and then it was a dogfight until Goodwin’s double.
Second rower McQueen, his head bandaged from his collision with Inglis while trying to stop Hurrell, posted another try near fulltime.
Rabbitohs lock Sam Burgess had an unfortunate night, knocking on twice after laying the platform for Andrew Everingham’s eighth minute try and being penalised on one occasion for throwing the ball away.
He was also booked for a high tackle on Warriors fullback Kevin Locke.
Inglis said: “Sammy’s got to go back and concentrate on .. I think he was trying to be Sonny Bill. What Sammy does best is take the ball forward. He does have that skill in him but we need him to take the ball forward.”
Inglis was ill in the lead-up with a virus, received a head knock early and then was opened up by Hurrell.
Asked if he had a broken nose, Inglis said: “I don’t know. Probably. He (Hurrell) is a strong human.”
In the first half, a lucky ricochet helped Everingham score in the corner. Warriors hooker Nathan Friend was held up at the 26-minutes mark, before skipper Simon Mannering crossed a couple of minutes later off Shaun Johnson’s pass
“’Too good’ is probably a poor description,”said Elliott. “They are a little bit further down the track than us and it was a really good lesson that we’ve got some ground to cover.
“We had some problems with our travel. We got delayed. We really have to examine how we do that next time.”
SOUTH SYDNEY 30 (B Goodwin 2 A Everingham J Sutton C McQueen tries A Reynolds 5 goals) bt WARRIORS 13 (S Mannering K Hurrell tries S Johnson 2 goals field goal) at nib Stadium. Referees: A Klein/D Munro. Crowd: 20,221.

Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

THE JOY OF SIX: Round 16

The Joy Of SixDUGAN UNCHAINED, PART 57

DESPITE the complications alcohol and social media have each caused him, NSW and St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan still seems to really like both. After reports emerged on Sunday that police were called after he was seen sitting in a boat parked outside a Sutherland Shire house and rowdily pretending to fish, Dugan posted on Instagram a meme (which now means a picture with a slogan superimposed on it) that read “A Lion Doesn’t  Concern Himself With The Opinions Of Sheep” following by the hashtag #anythingtosellastory . Within a few hours, the posting had more than 1000 likes. Most respondents, predictably, agreed with Dugan and criticised the story but some pleaded with him to, in the words of one follower, “pull your head in”.

RICKY’S LOST DANIELS NUMBER

RICKY Stuart deftly walked the line between getting his message across and not questioning anyone’s integrity with his post-match comments after the South Sydney loss. The Parramatta coach has said before that he doesn’t speak to referees boss Daniel Anderson and did not repeat his earlier contention that referees treat sides down the bottom of the table are treated differently than those at the top. That accusation carries an implication of prejudice and will make you $10,000 poorer in an instant. And while that was still the clear hint on Sunday, the majority of players in the NRL agree anyway. In the Rugby League Week Player Poll, when asked “do lesser clubs cop a rough deal from refs?”, 54 per cent of respondents answered ‘yes’. The NRL recently beefed up its rules to take in criticism which is considered excessive, even if no integrity is questioned. In the view of Joy Of Six, this is blatant censorship.

OUT WITH INNUENDO

THE speculation on Thursday and Friday that Sonny Bill Williams was about to pull out of the Sydney Roosters-Canterbury match because he did not want to put money in his former club’s coffers did no-one any favours. Sure, the fact that Williams played should have put the innuendo to bed but in truth a professional sports should not have to endure the whispering in the first place. In the NFL, all clubs have to maintain an injury list outlining who trained, who didn’t and why – which is available to the public. And betting on American football in most US states is illegal. Hiding or lying about injuries is punishable by Draconian fines. Rugby league may have scaled back its involvement with bookmakers but it arguably owes the public more transparency than the NFL because it still benefits from punting. When the Integrity Unit is done with misbehaving players, it should get to work on making clubs completely transparent over injuries and team changes.

DUGAN UNCHAINED, PART 58

ANOTHER job for the Integrity Unit, then. People still seem angry at Josh Dugan, even though he apparently did nothing wrong on his night out with Blake Ferguson and fishing on dry land is not – at this stage – a crime in NSW. It is central to their disquiet that Dugan did “the wrong thing” in Canberra and was “rewarded” with a St George Illawarra contract, and then “rewarded” again with NSW selection. That being the case, surely Jim Doyle’s Integrity Unit should assess each case where a player is sacked for disciplinary reasons and make a ruling on whether he should be able to join a rival club immediately, after a set period or at all. There’s no integrity in deliberately getting yourself sacked by not showing up to work, and then joining a rival employer after a few weeks’ purgatory. The NRL should be involved.

THE GAME THEY PLAY ON SEVEN

CHANNEL Seven’s signing of an agreement to cover the World Cup is tremendous news and follows a similar deal in the UK, where regular league broadcaster Sky Sports lost out to upstart Premier Sports in rights negotiations. While International Management Group, who negotiated both deals, are motivated by profit and not the welfare of the sport, rugby league has often lacked the confidence to share TV broadcasting rights around. International Rugby League is essential for the sport to go to the next level commercially and in the case of the broadcasters we already have, familiarity has bred contempt. You could argue it is in the interests of our domestic broadcasters for rugby league to remain a local, affordable commodity. They don’t care about international football and in that circumstance, we can either dance to their tune or go out and find someone who does care. Thankfully, we’ve done the latter. It could be a milestone decision.

WARRIOR TO … WARRIOR

THE negligible space afforded to Sam Tomkins’ likely signing with the New Zealand Warriors (from Wigan Warriors) in the Australian press is a sad indictment on the perceived strength of Super League. Tomkins is a once-in-a-generation English rugby league player whose evasive skills on kick returns have to be seen to be believed. While Australians decry the denuding of Super League, most English fans have never had illusions of grandeur about their competition. England coach Steve McNamara, speaking to Set Of Six in the South Sydney dressingrooms late on Sunday, spoke for many of them when he said fans would far rather see Tomkins stay in rugby league on the other side of the world than defect to rugby union at home. “It’s almost like the lesser of two evils, if you get my meaning,” McNamara said. Compare that to Australian fans, who view Super League and rugby union more or less equally as predators. Some of them would prefer a league player represent the Wallabies than Wigan, no doubt – a position that would be considered utter treason in the north of England.

Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

DISCORD 2013: Edition 23

DiscordBy STEVE MASCORD

THERE was an instance early in Origin I when pocket referee Shayne Hayne called a penalty for throwing the ball away – and fellow whistler Ashley Klein ignored it and played on.

It illustrated that Origin is still “different” – but the striking charge levelled at Paul Gallen shows it’s getting less “different” each year.

The stark fact that a flurry of punches from Gallen aimed at Nate Myles’ head was hailed as “a great Origin moment” by Laurie Daley sums up the bloodlust the series continues to generate.

It’s less blood, if no less lust, than at any time in the past 33 years and that will continue to be the trend as those who were part of its brutal past retire from being referees, and from being referees’ bosses.

That neither coach even bothered to contact the current match officials’ boss, Daniel Anderson, before last night’s game indicates they are not going to protest about this steady gentrification of Origin, which will eventually bring it completely into line with club football.

Cameron Smith admitted at the post-match media conference that the Maroons simply adjusted to the faster rucks in the second half.

We all have to adjust to the idea it’s not 1985 anymore and unfettered violence is no longer the way to go.

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BEING a ‘beat’ reporter or roundsman has its quirks – and one of them is that you assume your story each day with come from a set number of yarn ‘types’.

As a rugby league reporter, that usually means an injury, foul play, some great athletic feat or a colourful quote.

The positive to this is that we can pump out these sorts of stories pretty quickly, and that we have a good grasp of the back story (and spelling) associated with the 500 or so people we write about each day.

The downside is that when something occurs that is completely outside that prism, we are often taken unawares and can underplay an otherwise newsworthy event.

Thankyou, Russell Packer.

To be honest, I was far more enamored with the “Lets Gone Warriors” sign on Monday night than with Packer’s piddle. During the match, I only saw stills of the incident and even when Packer confirmed his guilt on Twitter, the whole thing seemed like an amusing sideshow to this hack.

Alas, people took real offence and it was deemed worthy of a $15,000 fine. Subsequent events indicate it belonged closer to the top of the match report.

On facebook, former Western Suburbs and Illawarra halfback Josh White admitted his brother did one better – or worse – than a ‘number one’ running onto the field once.

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COMMENTS time, going over stories from the past week and starting with last week’s Discord.

read on

NRL round 12: WARRIORS 56 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD

NEW coach Matthew Elliott admits he badly miscalculated the impact of travel on the Warriors for the first 11 weeks of his tenure at the club. One of the worst away records in the NRL has taken now a sizeable step toward improvement.

The Aucklanders ran in 10 tries to put 50 or more points past proud Brisbane for only the fourth time in the club’s history – and the first time on Queensland soil – in a crushing 56-18 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Glen Fisiahi and Konrad Hurrell all scored try braces just 16 days after Elliott’s side was lapped 62-6 by Penrith. It was a Brisbane performance that coach Anthony Griffin labelled “embarrassing” and captain Alex Glenn said he was “ashamed” of.

“It’s been an interesting challenge – we’ve dabbled in a couple of different areas and I think we’ve finally got it right,” Elliott said of the change in travel routine for the Monday Night Football game.

“We’re coming slightly earlier. Getting here the day before, I really underestimated the length of travel and I underestimated the difference the two hours (time) difference has.

“it’s only a three and a half hour flight but when you add up stuff at either end, it ends up being a seven-hour day. It’s quite taxing..”

Instead of arriving on match eve, the Warriors flew into Brisbane on Saturday night. It certainly seemed to do the trick – even if prop Russell Packer suffered mild incontinence. Video footage showed him urinating on the field, ala Don McKinnon on the same arena in 1988.

Warriors - Russell Packer“When you gotta go, you gotta go. LOL,” Packer later tweeted.

Elliott also revealed he dug out an obscure statistic to help drive his charges on after the Centrebet Stadium shellacking.

“There’ve been 20 teams in the NRL dusted by 50 points in the last five years,” said Elliott.

“Thirteen of those have won the following week – over 50 per cent – but only three have won the next week and only one away.

“We used it … all week. We had the opportunity to do something extraordinary. If you do what half the teams have done, that’s extraordinary. If you do what five per cent of teams have done, you start to put yourself in that bracket.”

The contest was as good as over at halftime with the Warriors 26-8 ahead. Most interest regarding the game in cyberspace centred on a sign brandished by a visiting fan which read “Let’s Gone Warriors” and the packer screen grab.

The Broncos drop two places to 11th but coach Anthony Griffin said that was the least of his worries.

“Just not good enough, embarrassing, they are probably two phrases that come to mind,” the ashen-faced coach said.

“Defensively when we needed to aim up, we just weren’t there.

“We need to look it square in the face and get back to work and get back to business.

“We’ve dropped some positions on the ladder but my thoughts at the moment aren’t about where we are on the ladder. We’ve got to go back, starting with me, and have a good look at ourselves.

“It doesn’t matter who we’ve got out there, we’ve got to be better than that.”

Glenn commented: “We’re not very proud of what happened out there … a bit ashamed of our efforts out there. I want to win some respect back for the jersey and the people who’ve worn it.”

Brisbane were boosted before kick-off by the early return of England centre Jack Reed, although the remodelled line-up struggled throughout.

Elliott said: “I acknowledge how Anthony must feel because I was there a couple of weeks ago.”

· To top of a colourful evening, a Warriors fan successfully proposed to his girlfriend in the dressingrooms afterwards.

WARRIORS 56 (T Leuluai 2 M Vatuvei 2 G Fisiahi 2 K Hurrell 2 K Locke R Packer tries tries S Johnson 8 goals) bt BRISBANE 18 (J Hoffman A Glenn S Prince tries S Prince 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: B Cummins/B Suttor. Crowd: 21,259.

Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

The A-List: JOE GALUVAO (Manly, New Zealand & Samoa)

Manly - Joe GaluvaoBy STEVE MASCORD
HE hasn’t made “the decision” yet. But as Joe Galuvao’s eyes dart around his loungeroom in western Sydney, no doubt catching the moon boot on his right leg in their periphery, he concedes: “It looks like it’s the last game I’ve played”.
Previously, it’s fair to say, nothing could stop Joe, now 34. Not poverty. Not distance. Not indifference. Not pain.
He was left without a future and with massive debts when the old Auckland Warriors went broke. He was nudged out the door at Penrith (where he won a premiership), banished to Brisbane at South Sydney, and languished in the NSW Cup at Parramatta.
And he fought back to win a second premiership, at Manly in 2011. That was two years ago. Galuvao says he gone into too many games since then without an injury.
But a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered on April 14 has done what CEOs, coaches, and a movie star could not. It’s brought down the curtain on a career that hasn’t just been “remarkable” or “decorated” – it could rightly be described as inspiring.
The distance Joe has been travelling to training each day is underlined by the fact that after a mix-up with a car, your correspondent spends $164 in cab getting to his abode.
“I’m looking to finish up,” says Joe, quietly spoken and still somewhat immobile due to that moonboot. “We haven’t really made a decision yet, it’s for me and my wife to discuss.
“It’s a bad way to go.
“When you go from training and playing every week to doing absolutely nothing, it’s a shock to the body and mind
“It’s one of the principles I’ve learned over the years – keep batting on. You can’t control who picks you,  you can only control training well and playing well and having a good attitude.
”I’m doing a diploma in business, project management, and also a cert three and four in fitness.”
So the time seems opportune to hop in the Delorean, Tardis or Wellsian thingy with a spinning wheel on the back and take a spin through the Career That Could, beginning back in 1998.
WARRIORS (1998-2000): “I wasn’t really driven to play first grade. I was just happy where I was. I think I took it for granted. I just thought talent would keep me … that I would just lean on my talent. I’m not saying I didn’t put in any hard work but I didn’t understand the importance of hard work. I heard it all the time, from guys like Stephen Kearney and Awen Guttenbeil and the Terry Hermanssons and Phil Blakes and Brandy (Greg Alexander), when he was there. They said ‘you’ve got to work hard and do extras’ but for me, I just wanted to have fun. “
PENRITH (2001-2005): “I was with the Warriors and when they folded I was kind of at a crossroads where I had to make a decision. When they went broke. I had nothing. Me and my wife, we had a kid and our debts were just …there was nothing there for me. I had no other aspirations, I’d never worked, it was just footy. It was my fault. I was being naive, thinking I could play footy forever. When you’re put at a crossroads and you’ve got a young family on top of that, at some point you’ve got to grow up. I was at that point.
“When you’re faced with desperation, you’ve got to fight. I had to look at my own principles and my beliefs. I had to change that. Coming over to Penrith was a real time of change, me growing up as a person. I realised I had a family to look after and bills to pay.
 “It was that emotional (to win the ’03 premiership). I was crying. It wasn’t because we won. I got to look back at where I came from. I couldn’t believe it. My mind kept going back to my family – my sisters, my dad, just the people that helped me and really encouraged me, really held me accountable when things were getting tough. My mind just kept going back to them and I wished they were there.
“I just wanted to share it with them but also my wife, my daughter, doing it for them and knowing where we came from – that’s what made that year so special. For me, it was a reward for being persistent and changing my life.’
SOUTH SYDNEY (2006-07): “A lot of that story was taken out of context. Russ (Crowe) didn’t tell me to leave and join the ministry. He mentioned I was involved heavily in church and he wanted to know where my loyalties lay at the time. I was doing a lot of church stuff, things in the community ….
“…which was kinda hard … because I’m going ‘other guys are doing things in the community as well’. For me to have that questioned, when the real issue was they wanted to free up money..
 “If anything, I was grateful that they sat me down and were straight-forward with me and didn’t beat around the bush.”
PARRAMATTA (2008-2009): “I was 18th man for, like, a million games but I was playing for Wenty as well that year and we made the grand final and won.  That was probably one of the happiest years. I enjoyed my football. Just playing with the guys, they were awesome. James Maloney was our half and Justin Horo was there so it was a pretty good team.”
MANLY  (2010 to present): “I contemplated retiring because no clubs, at all, offered me anything.  All of a sudden, my manager rang me up and said ‘what do you think about going to Manly?’ I wouldn’t have even thought about Manly.
“Before I met up with Des (Hasler), I was just thinking they probably weren’t even interested in me. I thought they were just being polite. We’d have a meeting, I’d say ‘hi’ to Des, you know? Then, when I got there, Des just sold me. He said ‘we really believe in you and we believe we can get the best out of you, we’ve got a proven track record of looking after older guys, you’ll love Donny (Singe, trainer)’. When you hear that from a coach, I would have signed for a dollar.”
For the last three years, Galuvao would catch a train from St Marys to Wynyard and then a bus to Narrabeen for training each day.
 “People would come to me and say ‘are you Joe Galuvao?’ I’d say ‘yeah’ and they’d say ‘I thought you were heaps bigger’ They’d think I was six foot something.”
Joe could have earned big money playing in England, with or against fellow “hair bear” Tony Puletua. But he has no regrets. “It wasn’t right for our family,” he explains. “It was hard enough for us to move here to Australia … just with our parents getting on and that.”
And so next year he hopes to be working alongside Tony’s brother, Frank, and Nigel Vagana at the NRL, trying to help Polynesian players deal with the pressures of NRL stardom. It’s a big issue in light of what happened this year to Alex Elisala and Mosese Fotuiaki
 “To lose two guys, both Pacific Islanders, points to the fact there must be a problem, you know? Like in all businesses and companies, everyone has risk management in place and I think it’s no different in the NRL.
“There is a risk, especially in light of what’s happened this year. Whatever the circumstances, we’ve got to learn to manage them. The risk is extreme, to the point where people have passed away.
 “We’ve got to put things in place to help those guys out culturally.
 “We’ve had people there who are Australian and their hearts are in the right place and they want to help out Pacific islanders but the pure fact they’re not Pacific islanders, they don’t understand the culture.
“But having Nigel and Frank Puletua there, it’s really given us a voice.
“I’m a big believer that, in order to enact change, we’ve got to have the people in the positions. “
Joe believes a Pacific All Stars team would be a focal point for the NRL’s community involvement with Polynesians.
And so, after a similarly rocky but ultimately uplifting football career,  Joe Galuvao  now shapes as the man most likely to make a difference, to be the Polynesian Preston Campbell.

THE JOY OF SIX: Round 10

The Joy Of SixBy STEVE MASCORD

1.HOW’S TRENT?
Long before Cronulla players were reportedly visiting him at home to find out what he had been telling ASADA, Parramatta trainer Trent Elkin had already written himself into the rugby league lexicon with the expression “How’s Trent?” Elkin used to be the referees’ conditioner and the phrase was code for “what’s the penalty count?”. Canterbury coach Des Hasler revived memories of “How’s Trent” by strongly suggesting the match officials were aware of the count at halftime in the 44-8 loss to Newcastle – and then spelt it out a little more plainly on Triple M. “It’s almost comical,” he said. “It’s 8-3, come in, check it out, all of a sudden it’s 8-7.” The Bulldogs acknowledged they were beaten by a better side but reckoned a slew of penalties in the Knights’ favour shortly after halftime, when they trailed by just four, was extremely damaging. The answer to “How’s Trent?” these days is a bit more complicated than a number, we suspect.
2. BEAU RYAN, UNDERPANTS AND WILLIE
NOT everything Willie Mason said on the field was invective aimed at Ben Barba. When a scrum was packing down early in the contest, apropos of nothing, he asked the opposition pack of forwards: “did you see Beau Ryan on the back of Rugby League Week? He was in his undies.” At first Set Of Six thought he was having a shot at someone in the Canterbury camp for not playing in City-Country. Mason and Ryan were Country squad members and Bulldogs half Josh Morris withdraw from the City side. But then Mason said “I’m not talking about rep footy”. As it turns out, Mason had no ulterior motive in raising the issue. He just thought it was funny. As 1200 kg of rugby league beef collided in front of 18,982 fans, Mason was making idle conversation with his opponents.
3. NEW ZEALAND WORRIERS
WESTS Tigers’ poor form does not hurt rugby league in any great sense. South Sydney’s good season so far probably does more good thaN the joint venture side’s shocker does bad because it wins back a few fans who lapsed during the Super League War. But the Warriors being beaten 62-6 is disastrous for the game because they are rugby league’s flagship in an entire country. Crowds at Mt Smart Stadium have always been fickle and while some recession-proofing has gone on over the past 10 years, an unsuccessful Warriors gives rugby union a leg-up and has the potential to cause damage right down to the game’s grassroots in the Shaky Isles. The attendance figure this Sunday against Newcastle will be very interesting indeed.
4. DUGAN (UN)CHAINED
ON balance, Peter Sterling’s idea of banning Josh Dugan from turning out against Canberra this year is a sound one. It’s hard to legislate a rule that fits all situations when players are axed for disciplinary reason but this simple measure would be a constant reminder that you can’t stuff up, have a break, and then carry on as if nothing happened. Parramatta signing Gareth Hock pushed Wigan into loaning him to Widnes but it was a condition of his loan he could not play against the cherry and whites. It would be fair to impose a similar restriction on Dugan. I still think the NRL would have to approve such each one of these conditional bans on its merits though, just to make sure a club is not exploiting the rules unfairly.
5. HAVES, HAVENOTS AND NOT SURES
ANY debate about the inequalities of this year’s competition should have become clearer on Friday night when first played last. Sure enough, first won by 44 points. But clearly there is an emerging middle-class too, teams who have either a) illusions or b) potential for grandeur. Each weekend, these teams take polite turns giving their fans reason to suspect upward mobility by waltzing around with top company before slumming it again, nursing a figurative bottle of plonk in a paper bag, the very next weekend. Gold Coast, Canberra, Brisbane, Penrith and St George Illawarra are in this group. You might be able to add Canterbury now too. Cronulla’s improvement seems more reliable and North Queensland are playing well without getting the results. They have to win on Friday against Wests Tigers though, and do it well.
6. DON’T TRIP OVER YOUR LIP
THERE is something wrong with our society when you can’t show so much as a nipple on television but Matt Srama’s bone sticking out of his finger and James Maloney’s lip sliced in two are objects of mirth and instagram frenzies. Both injuries were truly hideous and had the capacity to instantly transform any witness into a vegetarian. Maloney’s gash was so deep it actually affected his speech as I interviewed him on the field at fulltime on Saturday night at 1300SMILES Stadium. Srama apparently caught his injured finger in an opponent’s jumper on Friday night, aggravating the horrible gash which somehow did not involved a fracture. David Mead played half an hour with a broken jaw in the loss to the Broncos. Tough, tough men – but I’d rather just read about their feats than see things in living colour on social media. When did surgery become light entertainment?

Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Elliott Unhappy With Crucial Calls

Matthew ElliottBy STEVE MASCORD

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