NRL 2022: Wests Tigers explore all options to appeal scandalous bunker farce over Cowboys loss, NRL in damages fight

The Wests Tigers have told the NRL they are considering all options after they were robbed of a victory over the North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.

The Tigers were denied a 26–25 win after the referee allowed the Cowboys to challenge the captain, although play was not stopped.

An unfamiliar call provoked a violent reaction from commentators and rugby league fans, many called it a blatant “rip-off”.

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Bunker official Ashley Klein ruled that Asu Kepaoa deliberately interfered with Kyle Feldt and awarded a penalty, allowing Valentine Holmes to score the winning goal from the penalty spot for the Cowboys.

Furious Tigers officials are now believed to be seeking every avenue to appeal the result, including their legal options.

“We are outraged by this decision. We are exploring all the options available to us,” said Tigers CEO Lee Hagipantelis. Sydney Morning Herald.

The Tigers are in the process of determining if they have grounds for an appeal that, if successful, could force the NRL to overturn the result and give the Tigers two points, depriving the Cowboys of the win.

There was only one second left on the clock when the kickoff in question occurred, and Tiger officials would argue that “the game was over” at the moment the referee blew the whistle.

The Tigers will also ask why the Cowboys were allowed to call the captain if the game was not stopped.

The NRL has never overturned the result and it looks like that won’t change as the NRL defends the captain’s challenge.

An NRL spokesman told SMH: “Under the circumstances, calling the captain was acceptable.

“While the referee blew his whistle to stop play after the last tackle had been completed as time had run out, he had not yet called a full day,” an NRL spokesman said.

However, the NRL reportedly admitted privately that the decision to punish Kepaoa may have been wrong.

National Football League head of football Graham Annesley has a few things to explain at Monday’s weekly briefing.

Tigers backup coach Ben Gardiner couldn’t get over the decision but gave a cool response after the game.

“It was a moment of rapture and a moment of deflation,” he said.

“I felt like I wasn’t quite sure why the decision was made.

“I understand that when the bunker comes into play, when the challenge is given, it must be when there is indiscretion in the game, when there is a glitch in the game.

“I understand that we caught the ball, the game was over, and it should have ended there.

“I’ve been a coach for a long time, and you can get upset, you can complain, you can do all these things, but it doesn’t change anything. It was a moment of deflation, that’s for sure.”

Cowboys coach Todd Payten admitted that his team was lucky.

“If I look back at the past season, last week we were robbed of a powerful try. Back in the first round, Hamiso (Tabuai-Fidow) lost his try with a couple of minutes left, which cost us the game,” he said.

“What you sow is what you reap, today we have one. We got a call at the end.

“Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. Today we have one.”

Originally published as NRL Cleans Up Damage, Tigers Explore All Options To Challenge Controversial Bunker Farce