Martin Devlin: A cruel loss for Warriors, but no conspiracy

Radio Sport,
Publish Date
Friday, 26 April 2019, 1:57PM

So what about them Warriors?

Yes, it was a cruel loss to Melbourne last night.

Yes, it was a dubious penalty that contributed directly to that loss.

Yes, it seems to happen to this club disproportionately more than it should.

And yes, it was also a decision that deserves to be heavily criticised.

But conspiracy theory? No.

To claim there might be some sort of collusion between different administrative levels of the game conspiring against this club is as ludicrous as was Bromwich's quick attempt to play the ball - and that's where the real problem lies.

Players milk these pens for all they're worth and the refs need to both acknowledge that fact and then start taking appropriate action against it. 

The responsibility for a clean play the ball lies foremost with the ball carrier. Too often though these days, with the game being played at such an increased pace and in the haste to keep a roll on, the carrier barely gets himself into a proper upright position before cleverly bumping the ball against whichever defender is closest.

At real time speed, which let's also remember is how we ask the refs to view it, this clumsy looking effort can easily appear like a deliberate defensive attempt to slow the play down - result being an attacking penalty, just like we saw last night.

What Bromwich did can at best be called cynically professional, at worst it's a blatant rort to con the ref.

So who's more at fault then?

The players for trying it on or the refs for not being savvy enough to recognise that's what they're doing? 

In the case of last night's game, I solely blame the refs.

The guy who gave the Storm the penalty was looking from behind the two Warriors tacklers so his view was naturally obscured. The other ref, just metres from Bromwich, was in a far better position to see what had happened and yet he didn't react at all.

The resulting pen right out in front levelled the match and with just minutes left to play the outcome seemed inevitable - and so it proved.

Another bitter tasting defeat in a comp where 2 points can, and often does, prove the difference between a season's ultimate success and failure.

Where the Warriors robbed? Undoubtedly.

But nothing to do with a conspiracy, this was simply an experienced Storm player deliberately milking a penalty.