NRL 2019: Warriors coach Stephen Kearney baffled after controversial win against Knights

Coaches, fans, and commentators have vented their frustrations at NRL match officials after the Warriors' controversial come-from-behind 24-20 win over the Knights in Newcastle.

Numerous questionable calls went against the Warriors in a game that was littered with controversy, but a 76th minute try to prop Sam Lisone at McDonald Jones Stadium saved the referees from what would've been a controversial Knights win.

The Warriors conceded the opening try of the game despite replays showing Newcastle's Mason Lino knocking on earlier in the set.

But the most questionable call was when Warriors winger Ken Maumalo had his third try ruled out by the Bunker despite replays showing him grounding the ball.

The decision led to Fox Sports commentator Brett Finch saying "blow up the Bunker".

Maumalo told after the game that he felt he'd scored.

That wasn't the end of the controversy, player welfare coming into question as Peta Hiku laid on the turf with a clear concussion right in front of lead referee Adam Gee, who let the game continue, Newcastle scoring with a one-man advantage.

The call comes less than a week after NRL head of elite football Graham Annesley described the officiating in round 15 as "sloppy", in particular some of the calls made in the Panthers' golden-point win over the Warriors.

Social media was quick to chime in, calling the officiating "disgraceful".

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney was bewildered by some of the decision-making, but was pleased those calls didn't end up deciding the winner.

"I've given up trying to give my view on it because at the end of the day, they're pushing the button," Kearney said.

"Over the course of the last couple of weeks there's been a few howlers, but what's saying what I think about it going to change?

"There's no point pointing the finger and blaming ... We're all there. We saw it. I'm just happy that it didn't come down to that to decide the game."

Knights coach Nathan Brown shared similar views to Kearney.

"At the start of the year they didn't want to penalise. [Now] they're looking for reasons to give away penalties," Brown said.   

"But this is the risk that they open up when they start penalising all the time.

"You can send a thousand clips to them but it ain't gonna change anything. That's the reality of it.   

"It's no good talking to them about it, it's not going to change anything. So just get on with it, and hopefully, we can be better, that's what we can work at."

Despite the drama, Kearney was pleased to come away with the win, their first against a team in the top eight this season.

"We've had a couple of close losses over the past month. So to get the win is just a relief.

"It's been a challenging month for us, so it's nice to come out the other end of it, to be honest."


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