AAP Rugby

Broncos game-winner was forward: Sharks

By AAP Newswire

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan believes NRL referees erred in failing to call a forward pass in the lead-up to Brisbane winger Corey Oates' game-winning try on Saturday night.

Oates' spectacular putdown broke a 16-all deadlock between the two sides and eventually proved the difference in the Broncos' four-point win at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

However, Flanagan believes Broncos captain Darius Boyd's two-man cutout for Oates was forward.

"Passes can travel forward, but that travelled forward five metres. So, wow," Flanagan said.

"That's all I can say on that one. We measured it. Where he passed it, he's on the line. And where he received it, he's five metres in front of him. That's a long way."

The non-call was one of a number of issues Flanagan had with the officiating against the Broncos, which followed what he claimed was a strange phone call from referees boss Bernard Sutton on Friday.

Flanagan said Sutton phoned him to discuss comments made by NRL boss Todd Greenberg about wanting officials to avoid nit-picking penalties.

"I found it amazing that the referees boss was ringing me on a Friday before a game explaining the CEO's comments, saying how it's gonna change," he said.

"At this stage they're not going to get nit-picking penalties. Well, there was definitely one of those today on Matty Prior."

Asked whether he understood how the game was now going to be officiated, he said: "We're clear on what they're after and what they're trying to achieve.

"But if they're not doing those nit-picking penalties, they did one tonight."

Despite his grievances with the referees against the Broncos, Flanagan and skipper Paul Gallen admitted the team paid the price for a wasteful effort in the first half.

They completed just 58 per cent of their sets in the opening 40 minutes to be behind by 10 at halftime.

"We beat ourselves. We showed some fight in the second half and put ourselves in the game. Gave ourselves a chance to win it.

"In the end we needed to be better in the first half," he said.