Wayne Bennett hits out as Dolphins fans cry foul over match-deciding call in Raiders loss

The Dolphins NRL coach thought the game-winning field goal should have been disallowed.

Wayne Bennett has questioned why the Raiders' winning field goal against the Dolphins was allowed to stand considering Joseph Tapine appeared to interfere with Jeremy Marshall-King. Canberra beat the Dolphins in a thrilling back-and-forth NRL contest, with Jordan Rapana slotting his second field goal of the game to secure a 26-25 victory in golden point extra-time.

The Dolphins thought they'd won the game just minutes earlier, but the Bunker ruled that Max Plath had impeded Canberra players chasing through to try and charge down the field goal. The call appeared to be correct considering the NRL has cracked down on 'blockers' this season, but many thought the Raiders' winning point should have been disallowed as well.

Wayne Bennett, Joseph Tapine, Danny Levi and Jeremy Marshall-King.
Wayne Bennett was fuming after Joseph Tapine and Danny Levi both appeared to impede Jeremy Marshall-King. Image: Fox League

Tapine played the ball and had his hands all over Marshall-King when the Dolphins hooker starting running through to try and block the kick. Some also thought Danny Levi stepped into Marshall-King's path after throwing the pass to Rapana from dummy-half.

But the Bunker cleared both incidents and allowed Rapana's winning point to stand. Marshall-King actually got a finger-tip to the ball, but couldn't prevent it from floating over.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Bennett was filthy but not surprised. “You’re going to have to wait for when (NRL head of football) Graham Annesley does his report about all the mistakes they made,” the coach said. “The Joe Tapine, was that any worse than what Max Plath did?"

Bennett was also fuming that two of his players copped head knocks but the Raiders weren't penalised. "I got two players knocked out tonight, no reports, no penalties, both were head highs. And they both had to go off the field," he said. “As I said, you’ll have to ask them. I can’t answer those questions because I don’t have the answers.

Jordan Rapana.
Jordan Rapana celebrates after his field goal in extra-time of the Raiders and Dolphins clash.

“I’m not surprised. They had a look at a couple of things tonight and they didn’t change their minds. Connolly (Lemuelu) got knocked with a really forceful head high trying to pick up a loose ball on the ground and there was no action taken. And then there was the other one with Herbie Farnworth. No action was taken.

“But both times they get sent by the doctor in the Bunker for head assessments because they’ve been hit in the head. Nothing’s going to change but I suppose my players need some answers. That’s the only satisfaction we’re going to get.” Bennett said he wouldn’t reach out to Annesley directly, stating: “Nothing’s going to change.”


Cooper Cronk said on Fox League after the game: “I think Wayne’s calculated with everything he says and that was a timely reminder. I tend to agree with him. The Rapana field goal to win it, it seemed as though Marshall-King thought he was interrupted on the run. We never got a second look at it but it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it.”

Rapana had never landed a field goal in his long NRL career, but kicked two after the Dolphins had taken a 25-24 lead late in the game. "That was a win on a lot of guts," Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

"I just said to (captain) Elliott Whitehead we weren't going to talk about the field goals because Rapa' will be doing it for the next six months. But honestly, Jordan he's an unbelievable competitor. He's just a warrior. I love coaching him. He's the hardest man in the world to coach, but the boys just love playing with him."