19 Sep 2015

Roosters make semis with ref's helping hand

7:21 am on 19 September 2015

The Sydney Roosters have defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs 38-12 in the first National Rugby League elimination final at Allianz Stadium, with Kiwis wing Shaun Kenny-Dowall scoring three tries.

The Roosters now face a preliminary final showdown with the Brisbane Broncos next weekend.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall

Shaun Kenny-Dowall Photo: Photosport

But the minor premiers had a helping hand from the officials after a controversial decision sparked a scoring spree in the second half.

Before a tense, vocal crowd of 35,711, the Roosters led 8-4 at half-time until Kane Evans' try in the 52nd minute opened the way for 30 second-half points to overcome last week's upset loss to the Melbourne Storm.

But the NRL will have some serious explaining to do after what seems to be a video refereeing clanger in awarding that try.

With his side still holding that slender 8-4 lead, Roosters prop Evans was met by four Bulldogs defenders in what looked like a routine carry in the danger zone.

However, despite appearing to have been stopped in momentum, lead referee Matt Cecchin allowed Evans to edge closer to the tryline, before eventually finishing over the line.

Standing less than five metres away in the in-goal, Cecchin stopped time and called on video referees Bernard Sutton and Ben Galea to review the grounding.

Crucially, Cecchin also ruled a try.

Initial replays showed Evans planting before the tryline, only for the ball to be lifted again and then re-planted on the tryline.

Sutton and Galea looked at a number of replays before stunningly pressing the green button.

On the Channel Nine broadcast, Sutton said: "There was insufficient evidence to overturn the decision."

Commentator Ray Warren instantly replied, "Oh come on, Bernard.

"There is a promotion of the football after it touches the ground."

Fellow commentator Phil Gould was also surprised by the decision, arguing that Cecchin should've called held long before the double movement.

"For all money he's put it down in the field of play. I thought the tackle was held well before that," Gould said.

The decision proved to be the major turning point in the match, with the Roosters then running in four tries in the final half an hour to book their preliminary final against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium next Friday for a spot in the grand final.

In his last game for the club, Super League-bound former Kiwis back-rower Frank Pritchard was the Bulldogs' best as their season came to a disappointing close.

- AAP

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