Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Last Friday night the Penrith Panthers defeated the Sydney Roosters 26-18 in a close encounter.
The Roosters matched last year’s premiers for most of the game with Tongan captain Sio Siua Taukeiaho and New Zealand fullback Joseph Manu proving the standouts for the tricolours as they have done throughout this season.
In the end Penrith’s sheer talent across the park was enough to get over the top of the Roosters as forwards James Fisher-Harris and Viliame Kikau proved the difference makers with the Panthers backline too elusive in attack.
Coming out of this game the big story is not the result or the effort of any players in particular as referee Gerard Sutton has been slammed for his officiating throughout the game with fans accusing him of displaying bias towards the Panthers.
Sutton made several contentious calls but one in particular has caught the eye of the media.
During the game Roosters hooker Sam Verrills was penalised for a dangerous tackle on Penrith’s Scott Sorenson.
It seemed Verrills may have slipped over whilst attempting the tackle which made the situation look worse.
Former Rooster Braith Anasta has slammed Sutton’s call on NRL 360 last night.
“A number of big calls they got wrong in this game, I don’t care who you go for, you watch that game against the Panthers, the refereeing was terrible,” Anasta said.
“It cost the Roosters the game… this was one of the worst calls I have ever seen.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson faced the media after the game and let his disdain for Sutton’s refereeing known.
“It wasn’t a good enough performance from him (Sutton) but that’s … you still should be in a position … it’s not going to happen in Roosters colours,” said Robinson.
“That’s not bias, that’s a fact.”
Both the Panthers and Roosters have a bye this weekend before the Roosters take on the Dragons in a game with top-eight implications and Penrith travels to CommBank Stadium for a clash with rivals the Wests Tigers who are looking to avoid the wooden spoon after losing to the New Zealand Warriors last Sunday afternoon.