Canberra Raiders fans are still in disbelief after a calamitous refereeing stuff-up during last night’s NRL Grand Final tilted the game in the Sydney Roosters’ favour.

To convey the perspective of the upset: I am writing this from Melbourne while my New South Welsh colleagues take the day off. The fury has radiated across state lines.

Anyway.

With scores tied at 8-8 with fewer than ten minutes remaining, the Raiders were pressing the Roosters deep into their own territory when a huge bomb bounced off a player and into the hands of Canberra captain Josh Hodgson. 

Referee Ben Cummins seemed to wave his arm around in the air, signalling six again – that is, the Raiders were granted six more tackles before a turnover.

Until the ruling wasn’t six again. As Canberra’s Jake Wighton dove into another tackle, expecting the opportunity to safely take a set, the ref ruled that was actually a turnover.

Perhaps riding their outrageous good fortune, the Roosters eventually fought back, winning 14-8.

Speaking after the match, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was more reserved than many others would be in the situation.

“If it is the wrong call – and I’ve only seen it once – there’s not a referee that would try to make a mistake if it was a mistake,” he said.

“I hope that if it is wrong, I hope he’s not the spotlight of this evening.”

Stuart also called on the media to report on the referee’s call without imposing his own beliefs on the matter.

Those are the facts of the matter. Now, let us express the emotion of the decision, by a quick perusal of League twitter:

Don’t think for a second that Rusty didn’t have his say, either.

So that’s two on the trot for the Roosters, and a fanbase-defining moment for the Canberra squad. See you in 2020.

Image: Dean Lewins / AAP Image