‘Was that any worse?’: Wayne Bennett erupts over controversial golden point thriller as Raiders, Jordan Rapana beat Dolphins

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The Canberra Raiders achieved the unthinkable with their 26-25 golden point victory over the Dolphins on Saturday night at Kayo Stadium.

The hero was Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana, who kicked the first two field goals of his career, creating a stunning score that gave both sides ample opportunities to decide the game.

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After Jesse Bromwich was ruled out for the first few minutes with what was believed to be a rib injury, the Dolphins spent most of the game fighting back.

The Dolphins equalized in the 67th minute on a try from winger Kurt Donoghoe before Jamayne Isaako made it 24-24 with a sideline conversion.

Isaako then gave the Dolphins the lead with a field goal in the 71st minute before Rapana kicked his first one-point shot to take the teams to golden point.

But the drama was not over yet.

Due to poor handling, the Raiders defended almost the entire first five minutes of golden point.

Just over 90 seconds into overtime, it looked like Isaako had scored the winning goal, but referee Adam Gee penalized the Dolphins for lock Max Plath straying from his line and impeding the attack attempt.

“Blockers – we were promised that the referees would be tougher here,” said Dan Ginnane.

The rule was changed in the offseason after controversial moments where players blocked the path of other players who attempted to attack or pressure the kicker.

Another field goal attempt by Isaako was blocked, while Isaiya Katoa himself retired in the next set but was knocked off the ball by Rapana shoulder to shoulder.

The Raiders had a chance to shoot in the final seconds of the first period of overtime, but Rapana missed.

Early in the second half, Isaako missed another attempt before Rapana scored the winning goal despite Jeremy Marshall-King touching the ball.

However, Marshall-King claimed that he was obstructed on the way to the attack attempt.

A replay showed that Marshall-King had touched the ball, so had he gotten there sooner, he might have had an even bigger impact on the field goal attempt.

“A controversial play has a controversial ending,” Ginnane said. “The Dolphins were denied a field goal, the Raiders were granted one, and the Dolphins claim it was an identical offense.”

Corey Parker said, “At first glance, it looked like Marshall-King was detained,” but on second glance he seemed unconvinced.

But Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett was furious after the game.

When asked, “Wayne, you were never really a fan of Golden Point, I assume this hasn’t really changed your mind,” Bennett replied, “No.”

When asked about the Plath decision, Bennett did not hold back.

“They have to wait until Graham Annesley presents his report on all the mistakes they have made,” he said.

“Was Joe Tapine worse than what Max Plath did? Tonight two players went out, no reports, no penalties, both were headfirst. And both had to leave the field.

“As I said, you have to ask yourself. I can’t answer those questions because I don’t have the answers.”

When asked if he was surprised that they had ignored Tapine’s action at the game-deciding moment, Bennett said: “I’m not surprised.

“They looked at a few things tonight and they haven’t changed their minds. Connolly (Lemuelu) was hit with a very heavy headbutt trying to pick up a loose ball from the ground and no action was taken. And then there was the other one with Herbie Farnworth. No action was taken.

“But both times they were sent by the doctor in the bunker to have their heads examined because they had suffered a blow to the head.

“Nothing will change, but I think my players need answers. That’s the only satisfaction we’ll get.”

Bennett said he would not contact Annesley until Monday and reiterated: “Nothing will change.”

After the press conference, Cooper Cronk of Fox League said it was the way Bennett

“I think Wayne thinks about everything he says, and this was a timely reminder,” Cronk said.

“I tend to agree with him. On Rapana’s winning field goal, Marshall-King seemed to think he was intercepted while running. We never saw it again, but it will be interesting to see what comes of it.”

But despite being beaten 6-2 on penalties, Australian coach and Immortal Mal Meninga claimed the Dolphins “had better luck” in the second half.

“I just felt like it evened out,” he said. “It’s up and down, sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. What can you do now? There’s nothing you can do about it.”

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