Stop the NRL Bunker from looking forward

Leave forward passes out of the NRL Bunker. That's former Canberra Raiders captain Alan Tongue's opinion after the issue was once again thrown into the spotlight.

Penrith five-eight James Maloney's pass to set up Josh Mansour's match-winning try was clearly forward, but let go by the on-field officials.

It put the Panthers ahead inside the final 10 minutes and the Raiders were unable to regain the lead.

Should the Bunker be allowed to rule on James Maloney's pass that led to a try? Alan Tongue doesn't think so.

Should the Bunker be allowed to rule on James Maloney’s pass that led to a try? Alan Tongue doesn’t think so.

Maloney himself thought the pass was "sweet", with his now former coach Anthony Griffin thinking decisions on forward passes should stay with the on-field officials.

Under the current rules, the Bunker's not allowed to rule on them despite there being a string of them leading to tries so far this year.

It's posed the question, again, should the Bunker be allowed to rule on blatant forward passes?

Tongue warned against it, feeling many legitimate passes would get called forward, creating even more controversy in the game.

He felt it should be left to the on-field officials and just work at helping them eliminate any mistakes.

"I don't think so. Because you can freeze a frame and with momentum and … where the ball lands it's going to look like it's a forward pass," Tongue said.

"I just think the key decisions at the time with our touchy's and our referees, we've got two of them on the field, we could probably get that decision making a little better in the moment.

"Even though we've got some real great rugby league knowledge in the Bunker it still starts to get a little bit tricky.

"I'd rather just let the on-field people and get them accountable to getting those on-field decisions right."

Maloney's aforementioned try came off the back of an unlucky penalty against Raiders winger Jordan Rapana, whose elbow accidently cut Mansour's head.

Rapana had gone to smother Mansour's kick before catching him on the follow through, with claret flowing everywhere.

Mansour's only just come back from a horrific facial injury he suffered early in the season.

Rapana went into the Penrith sheds after the game to make sure Mansour was OK.

"He was good. Obviously accidental elbow to the head so I just went and apologised. Accidents happen," he said.

"I thought it was a bit of a tough call, obviously no intention to hurt him or anything like that. Those things happen."

The Raiders face Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium on Sunday, with both teams needing to win to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

Wests have the added motivation of looking to "right some wrongs" against a Green Machine that's become their bogey team in recent years.

The Raiders have won the last four meetings by an average margin of 43 points.

Tigers centre Esan Marsters said the coaching staff had told the players "enough was enough".

Marsters revealed the brutal wake-up call the coaching staff gave them on Monday. 48-12. 46-4. 52-10. 60-6.

The last four results didn't make for good reading.

He was unsure if five-eighth Benji Marshall (calf) would play this week, but the Tigers have ruled winger Corey Thompson (ankle) out for the year.

"Going into this game we really want to right some wrongs because we haven't been going too well against Canberra in the last couple of years," Marsters said.

"We had a meeting this morning and on the board it had all the scores that we played against them in the last couple of years, from this year as well, and it didn't really look too good. The coaches said enough's enough for us."


Sunday: Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium, 2pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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