A “controversial” decision by Bunker left Fox League commentators scratching their heads and Bellamy’s Storm in shock after conceding a game-breaking try to Hudson Young.
With the score at 20-16 with 15 minutes remaining, Raiders center Sebastian Kris challenged a high ball with gun Storm Cameron Munster, who was originally said to have dropped the ball.
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In the first half, Melbourne hooker Harry Grant jumped high, coming into contact with young pistol Xavier Savage in an almost identical incident that saw referee Grant Atkins whistle.
“This is a tough call for Harry Grant, how is that a penalty, he has every right to go, a really tough call from Grant Atkins,” Fox League’s Michael Ennis said in the first half. .
In the second half, Munster challenged the referee’s forward decision on the pitch, which left Ennis wondering how the Bunker could set the timing differently from Grant’s first-half penalty.
“We saw one in the first half…and what’s the difference to what Harry Grant did in the first half,” Ennis said.
“It’s a huge call,” said Fox League’s Dan Ginnane.
“He intended to contest the kick, until the last second,” Flanagan said.
“It was a first-half penalty,” Ennis said.
The Bunker ruled the Raiders cross only had eyes for the ball, and Munster dropped the ball back with Harry Grant ramming it into the Storm in-goal.
Fox League’s Shane Flanagan agreed with the decision – but Munster could be seen shaking his head as he walked away from a puzzled Atkins.
“They maintain their challenge, no strike but they were going for interference,” Ginnane said.
“I think that’s the right call at the end, I think the one in the first half was the wrong call,” Flanagan said.
“It’s a contest, we have to keep that in our game.”
Moments later, Hudson Young managed to roll up a Jack Wighton grubber after a “controversial call” that sealed Melbourne’s fate.
“A controversial call just moments ago, after which it was Jack Wighton who stood up”,
“Cameron Munster takes a chance.”
Ricky Stuart’s men were then able to kick things off, with a ridiculous try from Jordan Rapana giving the Raiders an eight-point lead and a 28-20 win in the first playoff final.
Originally published as ‘How’s that a penalty?’: The ‘huge’ call that overturned NRL epic and left Storm seeing red