The Dragons were left frustrated after a controversial call saw their potential try-scoring opportunity denied and the Panthers scoring points off the next set. The injury to Nathan Cleary was the main talking point of the night but there was plenty of drama at BlueBet Stadium in the second half.
Fill-in playmaker Jack Cogger kicked on the last play but winger Mathew Feagai dropped the ball. Tyrell Sloan picked up the ball that appeared to go backwards and referee Chris Sutton called it a knock-back before changing his mind as Sloan beat Cogger’s attempted tackle with space in front of him.
Sloan hesitated initially after the ball was touched by Feagai, which could have given the officials the impression that he thought it was a knock-on. Dragons coach Ryan Carr expressed his disappointment at the change of call and the fact they were unable to challenge it. The Fox League commentary team was equally stunned by the call and Sloane’s lack of attack. Penrith scored off the next set, amplifying the impact of the call.
The inconsistency in the referee’s decision left many perplexed, including Warren Smith, who called it a ‘calamity’ for the Dragons. Izack Tago ended up scoring off the next set for Penrith, with Sunia Turuva finishing off the move. The questionable call brought the game to a standstill, leaving many in shock.