Bennett, Hasler fume at NRL refs

Soutrh Sydney's narrow win over Manly has been marred by controversial refereeing decisions.
Soutrh Sydney's narrow win over Manly has been marred by controversial refereeing decisions.

South Sydney's Wayne Bennett and Manly's Des Hasler have taken pot shots at the referees following the Rabbitohs' thrilling 21-20 NRL win on Saturday, continuing the game's whistle-blowing woes.

Both coaches were aggrieved following the ANZ Stadium thriller, declaring they were the victims of dubious calls.

The most contentious moment of the game came when Cade Cust crossed midway through the first half to give Manly a 6-2 lead.

However the 13,434-strong partisan South Sydney crowd expressed their disapproval following what appeared to be a Moses Suli knock on in the lead-up.

Suli appeared to fumble the ball as he fielded a Daly Cherry-Evans pass before Manly's five-eighth scored.

Surprisingly, head referee Grant Atkins refused to go to the bunker and signalled the try.

"I didn't think it was a try," Bennett said.

"But what fascinates me is when you have that disputed ball on the ground, why wouldn't you just go and have a look?

"I'm not a fan (of the bunker). I want them to make their own decisions, but at the same time that's a moment where there's so much doubt there, it went so quickly. Just go and have a look at it. How's that going to impact?"

Suli was again the subject of a disputed call in the second half when he picked up a wild Damien Cook pass and ran 80-metres to score.

The Manly centre bobbled the ball when he scooped it up, but the bunker cleared him of a knock on.

Suli appeared to give himself up when he temporarily stopped and looked at the officials, but Bennett said he had no problem with the decision.

Meanwhile, Hasler took issue with an 8-2 penalty count - including 6-1 in the first-half - as his side trailed 18-6 at the break.

He argued his side was continually pinged for lying in the ruck but was not doing anything different compared to Souths.

"I can't figure it out," he said.

"I just figured we tried to stay in the ruck like they did.

"They did it really well, slowing the ruck. We tried to slow the ruck and we get penalised.

"You'd have to ask (NRL head of football) Graham Annesley. I know he said the other day he hasn't been too impressed with them (the referees)."

Australian Associated Press