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Time not on Penrith Panthers' side as Manly Sea Eagles sneak home

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Sea Eagles snatch win from Panthers

The Manly Sea Eagles fought back to grab two competition points in the final minute from the luckless Penrith Panthers.

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They say a week is a long time in football. For Jamie Soward and Penrith on Sunday a minute wasn't nearly as long as it should have been.

A furious Soward labelled as "disgraceful" the dying moments of the Panthers' heartbreaking defeat to Manly, convinced the visitors were robbed of a chance to hit back in the final seconds because of a timekeeping error.

Timely win: Manly players celebrate after their fightback.

Timely win: Manly players celebrate after their fightback. Photo: Getty Images

Soward had approached referee Matt Cecchin in a dramatic last minute at Brookvale Oval incredulous that the clock on the scoreboard at the northern end of the ground had not come to a halt as Manly captain Jamie Lyon lined up to convert the match-winning try.

Behind by one point thanks to a Tom Symonds try, scored with 68seconds remaining, Soward believed that time should have been stopped well before it eventually was — with 11 seconds left.  Told by Cecchin that the referee had indeed called time out 15seconds earlier and that the issue was "out of my control" Soward could not contain his anger. "That's disgraceful," he was heard to say to Cecchin on the match audio.

The matter, which follows at least three other timekeeping dramas to affect matches this season, was as confusing as it was controversial.

"How long does it take to kick a field goal?: Penrith's Jamie Soward.

"How long does it take to kick a field goal?: Penrith's Jamie Soward. Photo: Getty Images

In the end, Penrith were left with only four seconds remaining when they kicked off for the last time, with the time turned back on as Lyon took the conversion. It erased any remote chance they had of responding to level the match at 26-26.

Soward believed the Panthers had been denied "50 seconds" by the episode. "How long does it take to kick a field goal? Five, plus six seconds to get the ball back," he said.

"I was obviously devastated that they'd scored. [The clock] didn't stop when I walked forward and I asked them that the time should have stopped 15seconds ago. And it didn't stop – I think you all heard that in the audio."

Crushing loss: Bemused Panthers players after the final-minute loss to Manly

Crushing loss: Bemused Panthers players after the final-minute loss to Manly Photo: Getty Images

Asked what he had said to Cecchin, Soward replied: "He just said he'd called time off and he wasn't keeping time. The timekeeper was."  

Manly had also been involved in another timekeeping debacle in April at Leichhardt Oval when they were able to manage a final play in the first half, and score a try through Lyon, despite the clock having counted down to zero. A week later the NRL was forced to apologise when the Dragons were robbed of victory against Melbourne when the Storm's Young Tonumaipea played the ball marginally after the game clock had elapsed, and they went on to score a match winner after an extended movement.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary was aghast that Cecchin and on-field colleague Gavin Reynolds had not referred the final try to the video referee – which would have triggered the clock to be stopped automatically – to check whether Manly's chasing players were in front of kicker Kieran Foran as he put up a bomb. 

"I would have liked to have seen the video," Cleary said. "I thought a couple of those chasers of the kick were really close ... if the clock had stopped too, that would have been nice.

An NRL spokesman said they would look at the timekeeping dispute on Monday.

5 comments so far

  • I expect Geoff Toovey will be sputtering with rage at this mistake by the officials.
    After all, he does it any other week.

    Commenter
    paulie
    Date and time
    August 31, 2014, 9:50PM
    • Suck it up panthers supporters - it's called karma!! You took an awfully long time to take kick offs after tries in the second half yesterday. In the end you got what you deserved.

      Commenter
      Supporter from Gods Country
      Date and time
      September 01, 2014, 6:53AM
      • No mention of the fact that Penrith broke the record for time taken to wander back to halfway and kick off after Manlys 2nd last try with 3 minutes left. Granted, the clock was stopped, but that little spoiling tactic turned round to bite them on the arse didnt it?

        Commenter
        Cl
        Date and time
        September 01, 2014, 7:08AM
        • There was a goal line dropout to the panthers late in the second half where the Panthers made wasting time look like an artform. Wasting time is only a problem when some ELSE is doing it eh Soward?

          Commenter
          J72
          Date and time
          September 01, 2014, 3:44PM
          • Just once it would be nice to see a great weekend of Rugby League,,,, with decent Refereeing, no Time Clock issues, or pictures of Toovey and his little band waving their arms like birds... I know they are the Sea Eagles but truthfully, I AM OVER THEIR ANTICS

            Commenter
            CHrissie
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            September 01, 2014, 4:15PM

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