NRL Round 19 Six Again: Refereeing causes Raiders coach Ricky Stuart to blow his stack

First tackle: Ricky blows his stack

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is never shy about coming forward when he feels his team has been wronged by the officials. It would be easy enough to label him a sore loser if it wasn't for his occasional rants after victories, like his reaction to Sunday's win over the Warriors.

Stuart sees what the fans see, but as an NRL coach he isn't meant to blow up about it. That really should be left to the commentators, columns like this one and fans on social media. But even the most patient of coaches has his breaking point and Stuart's came after a first half where his team was caned 7-1 in the penalty count and star five-eighth Jack Wighton was sin-binned for being offside.

His rage was obvious at the time of Wighton's dismissal, as a water bottle came hurtling out of the coach's box window. After the game, he wasn't holding back.

"I wasn't happy with too much. It was a shocking game of football," Suart said.

"If we had of put some lineouts in when the ball went out, it would have been two rugby union games here in two days - disgraceful.

"If my team was giving those penalties away, then well and good. But they were doing the same types of things and not getting penalised for it. It's not the first time and it really frustrates me.

"Jack Wighton's sin bin - would that have been the same decision if it was a semifinal? I hope not because he wasn't offside. You can't make that error.

"Graham Annesley is a really nice man, he has been in the game for a long time. But in regards to rugby league, Graham Annesley and myself are planets apart. Thank God COVID is in, because we wouldn't get any more than 6,000 to these games.

"No I won't be raising any points [with him]. I will be doing my review and they will do their review, go into hiding with their results and it will be game on again next week.

"I've been around the game long enough to know and see where we create a foul and we get penalised - I understand that. But when you see the opposition doing the exact same thing, I expect the penalty to be there too.

"It was just a frustrating day."

Could it be said that the referee was "managing" the Warriors into the game? It certainly seemed like it.

Second tackle: Plenty of Bellamy blow ups during Storm win

Ricky Stuart wasn't the only one reaching for the blood pressure medication. Storm coach Craig Bellamy is an emotional man when watching his team play from the coach's box. On Saturday night, as his team dismantled the Tigers, he had plenty of good reasons to blow up and the cameras captured some beauties.

It was a little surprising to see him explode during the scoring of their first try, as Suliasi Vunivalu pounced on a kick to score after just four minutes. Vunivalu juggled the ball as he gathered for the put down and it seemed that Bellamy wasn't too happy with that scare.

In the second half the Storm defence opened up several times to allow the Tigers to score two quick tries. Bellamy, forever a perfectionist, was furious with the defensive effort. He knows slip-ups like that will quickly end their season in finals against the likes of the Roosters, Raiders and Panthers.

He did have a moment of levity though when Cameron Smith crossed for a try late in the game. After a lengthy video review by the bunker, a try was awarded and Smith and his teammates celebrated like they had just won the Grand Final. Smith looked towards the coach's box where Bellamy was seen to flip him the bird. The try took Smith past Bellamy's career try scoring tally, something that had long been a point of contention between the two.

Third tackle: Aubusson family awkwardness

You really can't question the NRL COVID-19 protocols, as they have been so successful in allowing the competition to restart and continue through the pandemic. But there are moments when you stop to scratch your head over some of the details.

If you managed to stay around to watch the post-game presentation for Roosters stalwart Mitchell Aubusson at the SCG after he notched up his club record 303rd game, you might have been confused. Aubusson became the Roosters' most capped player surpassing Anthony Minichiello and the club made sure his whole family were there to celebrate with him.

After the speeches were completed Aubusson moved towards his wife and their two very young children. It was a moment crying out for hugs and kisses and a lap of honour with his children in his arms. But, the coronavirus protocols meant the family were roped off from Aubusson and kept more than 1.5m away. This is the same wife and children he would return to later that night, as he does each and every night.

Fourth tackle: Not much in it

Talk about a game of millimetres - young Gold Coast Titans centre Treymain Spry intercepted the ball 10m out from his own line seven minutes into the second half of their clash with the Sea Eagles at Lottoland. He took off down the touchline with noted speedster Tom Trbojevic, testing his recently mended hamstring, in pursuit and winger Tevita Funa converging from the other side of the field.

Despite the head start, by halfway, it looked like Spry had no chance of outrunning either of the Sea Eagles, but he found a second wind and accelerated away. With the line within reach Trbojevic and Funa finally caught and dragged him to the ground. He slammed the ball down before rolling into the in-goal area and celebrated what he thought was a try. Replays showed there was a blade of grass between the grounded ball and the chalk and it was disallowed.

Thirteen minutes later Spry, in only his fourth NRL game, chased through on a kick, beat Trbojevic to the ball and crossed for a well-deserved four-pointer. The Titans went on to record one of their greatest victories, much to the delight of the handful of Titans fans who mysteriously turned up at Lottoland.

Fifth and last: Upset hampered by blunder

With the Bulldogs racing out to an early unexpected 20-0 lead against the Rabbitohs, the next try in the game was looking like it would to be crucial.

A typically slick Rabbitohs backline move well inside the Bulldogs half saw the ball tipped on to Souths winger Jaxson Paulo who dived over in the corner. Referee Ashley Klein, who had previously kept the bunker busy reviewing each of the Bulldogs' three tries, confidently pointed the spot to award the try.

Unfortunately, from the very first replay, it was painfully obvious that Paulo's boot had cut the touch-in-goal line before he had grounded the ball. It was an embarrassing blunder which fortunately did not impact on the gutsy performance of the Bulldogs, who went on to win their third game of the year 26-18. The touch judge from that side of the field was subsequently stood down for missing the infringement.

Handover: Another centre of attention

I gave Kotoni Staggs a big wrap two weeks ago for the way he has tried his heart out in a side which doesn't seem to share his dedication to the lost cause. Yesterday we saw another centre standing out in a team which has also had a poor year, has also sacked a coach and still can't manage a decent on field effort from everyone wearing a jersey with a similarly proud history.

Dragons centre Zac Lomax takes pride in his work and can be seen putting in the hard yards regardless of what is going on around him. He was a standout for a Dragons side which took on the Knights with most players looking like they wished the season would hurry up and just finish. Lomax scored two of the three Dragons tries and converted all three. He ran for 97m, made 32 tackles and had five tackle busts and one line break, all completed without error.

Incoming Dragons coach Anthony Griffin will like what he saw from Lomax, as would New South Wales coach Brad Fittler who could be looking for a centre for this year's State of Origin