'Absolutely robbed': Anger after 'disgraceful' referee blunder mars NRL grand final

Lula Sharp
October 9, 2019

James Tedesco scored the match-winning try in the 72nd minute, but it came off the back of a controversial referee decision which has dominated post-match headlines.

The short-handed Roosters, who represent the glamorous beachside suburbs around Bondi, were forced to dig deep in defence as Canberra chased the winning score but they held firm until Cronk returned.

The Roosters have now become the first team to record back-to-back premierships in 26 years.

The Raiders were also denied a penalty try when Josh Papalii was tackled without the ball metres from the try-line, which resulted in the sin-binning of retiring Roosters star Cooper Cronk.

While the rule was widely criticised, the Raiders remained in touch at 8-6 after Clive Churchill Medal victor Wighton stepped off his left foot to bamboozle Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner.

Cooper Cronk (left) will retire after Sunday's decider.

"But ultimately, I believe the decision not to give six more tackles was correct and had they not corrected that decision, I would probably be standing here talking to you now about the fact that a try may have been scored in the next set off an incorrect decision where six tackles shouldn't have been awarded".

No team has won successive titles since the NRL began in 1998 when the professional game was reunited after a schism known as the "Super League War".

During his chats with Cronk, Mayes discovered he has a personal connection with the gun half's family.

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"Word economy was one of his greatest assets". Sunday was Cronk's ninth grand final.

While it was far from the biggest controversy of the night in the end, the 10 minutes without Cronk was what the Roosters' premiership was built on.

Canberra, the surprise package of the season, hit back with a converted try from five eighth Jack Wighton after half an hour and Jarrod Croker kicked a penalty to level up the scores nine minutes into the second half.

Players on both sides agreed he was the right pick for the medal, as did Roosters coach Trent Robinson. The last side who did in a unified competition were the Broncos in 1992-1993. Thirteen players backed up from last year's grand final win over Melbourne.

Tedesco seized on the mistake to turn the game for the Roosters.

Before a noisy sell-out crowd of 82,922, this was one hell of a grand final.

Rivals may hate the Roosters but you've got to respect them.

Camera IconSia Soliola charges down a kick by Luke Keary. Canberra fans rose as one when Immortal Mal Meninga blew the horn to lead the Viking Clap alongside some of the Raiders best including Laurie Daley, Glenn Lazarus and Terry Campese.

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