Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks tries to reel in Jarryd Hayne during the Easter Monday blockbuster at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
The seemingly perennial drama about obstruction rulings is a relatively new problem in the grand old game of rugby league - it's a problem which has arisen in the age of the video replay.
There have always been obstructions (or shepherds as they were known in the old days) in rugby league. It used to be a case of the on-field referee (singular) would call play back if he thought an attacking team had created an unfair advantage by running behind a teammate.
The problem these days is it's not that simple. There are more decoy runners than ever before and in the age of paranoia about not wanting to make a mistake (rather than call it right the first time), refs are going upstairs to check any try with a hint of an obstruction.
Officials have used many methods in recent years to determine these rulings - strict interpretations of the rulebook, varying distances between the receiver and the decoy to decide whether an unfair advantage has been created, bringing a former player into the box alongside the video referee to help make calls.
How about they just use commonsense? Is that too much to ask? Just like in the pre-replay era when that one referee made the call on the field based on whether he thought a team had created an unfair advantage, why can't the video refs look at the replay and say "that was fair enough" or "that try had something fishy about it"?
There will always be subjectivity in these decisions. It's not like an LBW verdict in cricket or a line call in tennis with Hawkeye where it's clear cut either way. The current system of rules, by-laws and protocols is not working.
Anyway, the Wests Tigers were the main beneficiaries of this flawed system on the weekend - Parramatta should have been granted the late try to William Hopoate because as pretty much every impartial fan thought, even after watching the 12 replay angles, there was no way Luke Brooks was going to prevent that four-pointer from being scored.
There was plenty of blowback from Tigers and Eels fans after last week's Power Rankings suggested they probably won't reach the finals. On the evidence they presented on Monday at ANZ Stadium, they should both not only qualify for the finals but they'll be more than just making up the numbers in the playoffs.
1. Sea Eagles (last week 1): Another team that was lucky to win after a video referee howler late in their game cost their opponents victory. Now that the Glenn Stewart contract imbroglio is embedded in the past, Manly should be able to focus on the field and with the representative period unlikely to affect them greatly, they are well positioned for a crack at the minor premiership.
2. Bulldogs (2): Three one-point wins in a row are possibly better than a hat-trick of blowout wins. Canterbury's players will have a feeling of invincibility at the moment no matter what situation confronts them in games. Confidence is the most important, yet elusive, ingredient any team can possess in the 26-round slugfest which is the NRL.
3. Tigers (7): Many thought they'd fall in a heap with Robbie Farah, arguably the best player in the NRL this season, sidelined through injury. But there was plenty of purpose in the Wests side against Parramatta and even though they had a slice of video refereeing luck at the end of the game, they were cool under pressure despite their very inexperienced line-up.
4. Eels (8): They lost but rose four places? How is that possible? Well, did you watch them play against the Tigers. They deserved to win but more importantly, they looked like a team without any major weaknesses. If you judged them solely on Monday's game, you would have thought it was a team that had been to the past two finals series, not collected back-to-back wooden spoons. Supercoach Arthur has Jarryd Hayne running freely, not seen at club level with any regularity since their blue and golden run to the 2009 grand final.
5. Roosters (6): They beat Cronulla but even the most red, white and blue Chooks fans wouldn't have been too impressed with the performance. Their attack is still lacking cohesion, passes are hitting the outside men just behind them instead of on their chest. If they can recapture that fluency, they can still mount a decent title defence this year.
6. Rabbitohs (5): It's hard to get too worried about a South Sydney team with this much talent but it's also tough to predict big things for supercoach Maguire's side just yet. Perhaps that's a good thing - if, unlike the last two seasons, they enter the finals this year as a dark horse instead of one of the top two or three contenders, they can perhaps make a better fist of the playoffs.
7. Titans (3): It wasn't pretty for Gold Coast fans at Penrith on Monday night. For all but the last five minutes of each half, their offence was offensively bad. Any defensive line with Nate Myles and Greg Bird will always be hard to breach but there's a big question mark on the Titans' ability to gain the ascendancy with their attack.
8. Panthers (9): All supercoach Cleary needs to do is to tell Jamal Idris to visualise he's playing his old team Gold Coast every week and the big centre will be unstoppable. He was too much for the Titans to handle on Monday night. That was the kind of form that took him to NSW and Australian jerseys a couple of years ago.
9. Dragons (11): Those who call winger Jason Nightingale the most under-rated player in the NRL are wrong. He's rated very highly by the people that matter - his teammates, who love having him in their side performing every week, and the fans, he's taken the mantle of their favourite player who may not be the biggest star in the team but has their undying respect, following in the footsteps of the likes of Nathan Blacklock, Lance Thompson and Ben Hornby.
10. Broncos (10): It's not hard to see why second-rower Matt Gillett is almost certain to be on the bench for the Kangaroos for the upcoming Test. In an age of quality back-rowers, he is one of the best young forwards around, which he proved in his effort of 41 tackles and 178 metres, including two line breaks, in the big win over Newcastle.
11. Storm (4): It'd be easy to say the rugby league gods got even with them by delivering a last-ditch loss at Canberra after Melbourne were fortunate to snatch victory after the siren the previous round against the Dragons. The facts are supercoach Bellamy's team has been down on form for most of the season, coughing up an uncharacteristically high number of points. After a couple of close wins to start the year, they beat the Knights by eight at home before copping a flogging from Canterbury, a narrow loss in Melbourne to Gold Coast, then beat the Dragons on a contentious call and then ran out of puff in the nation's capital.
12. Raiders (14): There's still not a lot to get too excited about with the Green Machine this year. The win over Melbourne showed they have great heart but with a formline which reads LWLWLLW the search for consistency is still on.
13. Knights (12): The form of his faithful puppy dog, Darius Boyd, must be a concern for supercoach Bennett. He made only 64 metres (drastically low for a fullback) with his 18 possessions against the Broncos and came up with four missed tackles. Boyd will still probably be on the wing for Australia when the team is named for the Test against New Zealand, due to his previous accomplishments in the representative arena.
14. Cowboys (13): Supercoach Green did a smart thing by putting to bed any talk of a conspiracy against his team following another refereeing blunder costing them victory. Co-captain Johnathan Thurston was hopefully just blowing off steam post game when he implied there was a vendetta against North Queensland because the team cannot afford the burden of a victim's mentality.
15. Warriors (15): They always seem to get up for games against the Storm, particularly in Melbourne where there's a lot of Kiwi ex-pats. Supercoach McFadden needs the team to start producing, as of this Friday, or this season will officially be a write-off.
16. Sharks (16): There was a lot of trademark grit which has been a hallmark of Cronulla's recent seasons but unfortunately for Sharks fans, a lot of stuttering attack and an inability to get the ball over the try line which proved decisive in the 24-18 loss to the Roosters.