JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Forward call leaves Furner feeling flat


Jon Tuxworth


Flying start ... Billy Slater celebrates one of his two tries.

Flying start ... Billy Slater celebrates one of his two tries. Photo: Getty Images

CANBERRA were left fuming after a try to Blake Ferguson was controversially disallowed in a season-opening 24-19 loss to Melbourne at Canberra Stadium last night.


With Melbourne leading 14-12 late in the first half in appalling conditions, Ferguson barged over in the corner, but the try was denied after five-eighth Terry Campese's cut-out pass to the winger was controversially ruled forward.

It's raining tries ...  Billy Slater of the Storm catches a high ball to score the match-winning four points.

It's raining tries ... Billy Slater of the Storm catches a high ball to score the match-winning four points. Photo: Getty Images

Raiders coach David Furner vented his frustration at the fact the decision was made by Gavin Badger, not Brett Suttor, who was the controlling referee at the time.

"I found out it was the pocket referee that called it - there's certainly a question mark there [because of that] without a doubt,'' Furner said. "How the pocket referee can make that decision … we're talking about a forward pass here.''

Asked if such a decision can affect the outcome of a game, Furner replied: ''Of course it can.''

Raiders skipper Campese believed the Ferguson try should have been allowed. "It [my relationship with the referees] was pretty good until that pass I think,'' Campese said. "It's frustrating in this kind of weather. The only way they got in our end in the first 15 minutes was through penalties.

"My relationship with referees is something I'm improving.''

That moment aside, Canberra showed enough last night to indicate they'll be more than competitive this year. After finding themselves 12-0 down after just eight minutes , the hosts showed great resolve to get back into the contest.

At 18-18 with seven minutes left, it seemed Canberra would pull off an upset when Raiders fullback Josh Dugan's ugly field-goal attempt rolled over after hitting the top of the crossbar.

And while Dugan mostly outpointed his Storm rival Billy Slater, it was the man in purple who won the contest that mattered late in the game. With four minutes remaining, the Queensland Origin custodian outleapt Dugan to snaffle a Cooper Cronk cross kick and score his second try, which proved the match-winner. The Storm received the chance to deliver the knockout punch when Campese, who played his first full match for more than a year, knocked on at the halfway line.

It was a cruel blow for Canberra, who shaded Melbourne for the majority, and the 7862 hardy fans who braved the big wet.

In the end the creativity of Melbourne playmaker Cronk proved the difference, the halfback scoring a try and having a big hand in the Storm's other four-pointers.

"He [Slater] is a wonderful player as everyone knows, but I thought the Raiders played really well,'' Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said. "We had a great start but they were on top of us for most of the game. Then when we got some ball in the second half we couldn't seem to score.''

Slater was placed on report for a first-half high shot on Dugan.

Ultimately, the Raiders will be kicking themselves for the shoddy opening seven minutes in which the Storm got the jump on them. But the Green Machine definitely showed great promise, particularly in defence. "We've got to look at the positives - they scored three tries from kicks,'' Furner said. "I thought we handled the conditions quite well, we got ourselves back into the game.''

MELBOURNE 24 (B Slater 2 C Cronk J O’Neill tries C Smith 4 goals) bt CANBERRA 19 (G Buttriss S Fensom J McCrone tries J Croker 3 goals J Dugan field goal) at Canberra Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 7,862.

Related Coverage

Live blog: Penrith Panthers v Canterbury Bulldogs

Join Phil Mitchell for the first of two grand final replays this weekend. On Saturday night it is the coaches - Des Hasler v Ivan Cleary. Kick off at 7.30pm.

Standings: NRL ladder

Standings in the National Rugby League

. Fixtures: Round nine previews and round 10 NRL matches

Teams, odds, TV times, match officials, stats and expert tips.

Live: Raiders vs Storm

Join Lee Gaskin as he brings you live coverage of the Raiders up against the Storm from Canberra Stadium.

Life after Lockyer a whole new ball game for Brisbane

IN A match just as much about the two blokes on the sidelines wearing sharp suits as it was about the men in the middle, Brisbane coped better without Darren Lockyer than Parramatta did without Jarryd Hayne.

Family, football and Farah

ROBBIE Farah is sitting in the weathered grandstand at Concord Oval. He is talking about why he remains as familiar at Wests Tigers' modest training facilities as the fading black-and-white photos on the concrete walls. Why he is not enjoying the sun and surf on the Gold Coast.

Like father, like sun: storm over for Matai

AS THE rain set in on Dee Why Beach this week, it was hard not to chuckle at the irony. Steve Matai, the Manly centre, wants to paint himself as a changed man, rather than a wild man; a good father with a sunny disposition. But then the weather turns wild on him.

Nightingale sings it loud: the Dragons are back

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA winger Jason Nightingale believes the Dragons' 15-14 season-opening win went some way towards extinguishing any doubts that might have crept into the squad.

Panthers' early promise gone in a flash as Gordon's leg crumbles

The Panthers dominated the first half but, after leading 12-0 through tries to Travis Burns and Michael Jennings, they held only a converted try lead.

Thurston disgusted as Titans crush Cowboys

Gold Coast produced their best defensive performance in almost four years to upset North Queensland 18-0 in Townsville last night.

Marshall magic eclipses Carney comeback

Benji Marshall has slotted a field goal in golden point to give Wests Tigers a 17-16 NRL victory over Cronulla.

Related Coverage

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers