Let us start with some facts like the Canberra Raiders were gutsy, committed and deserved to come away with the two premiership points against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
But like life itself – the National Rugby League is ruthless and sometimes the better team doesn’t always win in footy.
Saturday night will be a learning curve for the Broncos. A reality check for them and coach Kevin Walters after starting the season with five straight victories.
With the Raiders out on their feet and desperately hanging on to a 20-14 lead – most thought they didn’t have enough in the tank to hold out the Broncos.
Nobody is disputing that concussions and head trauma in general is a major concern for the sport and the NRL has done a pretty good job taking care of the current players in the game but after such an exciting, incredible start to the season, fans are now questioning how quickly all this is going to blow up in our faces.
In the 75th minute from forty metes out, Brisbane halfback Adam Reynolds punted a giant bomb into the air. The fans at Suncorp Stadium, on the edge of their seats, chewing on their fingernails as the Steeden turned south and headed toward Raiders outside back Jordan Rapana.
As Rapana takes the ball, incoming Broncos defenders Martin Taupau and Kurt Capewell come through and time their run to perfection.
Not ‘perfection’ that Taupau injures Rapana.
Perfection that they did their jobs and got there when they should have.
Rapana knows Brisbane is coming and drops at point of contact to get as close to the ground as possible.
Unfortunately, Rapana got clipped accidently by Taupau’s legs and appeared to lose the ball.
What has already been forgotten is that referee Grant Atkins called a knock-on almost immediately even as Capewell picked up the loose ball Rapana dropped and planted it over the try line.
Interestingly, if the referee let it play on like some might think he should have and generally what an NRL official would do to allow the play roll on and look at it all back on video, Atkins called it immediately.
Technically if there was no foul play, which there wasn’t, and it went to the Bunker – the NRL would have no other choice but to award Capewell a try and send the game into golden point.
But due to the accidental contact and the blood coming out of Rapana’s head, somehow the Raiders got a penalty and Taupau was put on report.
How can Atkins say to Taupau it was “careless nature”?
Has anyone heard “careless nature” before?
Does that mean, the other guy got hurt, you were careless hurting him?
Penrith and Cronulla great Martin Lang – who is pro-active again concussion and the safety of current players was as confused as most people.
“Re/Martin Taupau accidental knee to the head of a falling Rapana.. Again, it’s an awkward game,” Lang tweeted.
“I’m not sure what other option Taupau had aside from not getting out of his car when he arrived at the ground.”
Taupau, a veteran of 230 NRL games, was quizzed by ABC Grandstand about the comical decision after the contest.
“Of course my hands are above my knees – how else do I make the tackle? Do I make it upside down?”
Even Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said in the press conference that it was an accident.
In post-match analysis on Fox League, Cooper Cronk and Immortal Mal Meninga agreed with the penalty and said that Rapana was placed in a dangerous position.
Okay – well ban kicking.
No more bombs.
Don’t care so much.
Don’t chase kicks “too” hard.
Ban close finishes.
Get rid of golden point.
The game is in major strife if that’s a penalty.