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REAL NRL: Wests ask for ‘please explain’ after U19’s GF ‘howler’

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The Western Suburbs Rosellas will ask Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) for a “please explain” after losing the under-19 grand final – with the match-winning try being scored on the seventh tackle.

Minor premiers Lakes United Seagulls captured the decider in dramatic fashion at McDonald Jones Stadium at the weekend.

With two minutes left on the clock, 2022 champions Wests broke a 10-all deadlock, thanks to a Kynan Toomey field goal, and appeared destined to successfully defend its title.

However, following a short kick-off, Lakes regathered the ball and stormed down the field.

Inspirational skipper Jed Rouse then crashed his way over the tryline with less than 40 seconds remaining.

Footage obtained – from BarTV’s coverage – clearly shows the Seagulls captain scoring on the seventh tackle, one more than the rules allow.

BarTV footage shows Lakes United scored on the seventh tackle.

Sadly, the error was missed by the referee and several on-field officials.

And, Rosellas coach Matt Atkinson would like a few answers.

“We’re in the process of contacting Newcastle Rugby League to find out how it happened,” he said.

“We understand the result can’t be changed.

“The problem I’ve got with it is it’s a critical part of the match, which determined the outcome.

“Not only was there a ref… there were two touch judges and an in-goal official.

“None of them can’t count to six?

“Look, people will say it’s sour grapes and so forth, however I’m not bitter; that’s footy.

“I’m more disappointed for the players.

“We had several guys out, due to them being part of the Newcastle Knights program, and the ones who took the field produced a massive effort against a side that hadn’t suffered a defeat all year.”

Coach Matt Atkinson (front, right) with his Western Suburbs Rosellas under-19 squad before the grand final.

Atkinson also pinpointed the “seventh tackle” ruling wasn’t an isolated incident.

“I have a bloke next to me doing the stats,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“A few times during the game he turned to me and said: ‘why is this another tackle?’

“So, there were about three occasions he tried to tell me that we were already at six – and the referee gave them one more.

“Also, their marker took our bloke out to open the room for him (Rouse) to score.

“They’re the two incidents we’ve asked for a please explain.

“It’s heart-breaking for the kids who have worked so hard.

“For many, it might be the last time they play rugby league at that level because the opportunities tend to dry up at that age.

“It is just a shame it’s come to this.”

Atkinson was quick to point out he wasn’t having a shot at Lakes either.

“It was a great encounter; and they were the best team all season,” he said.

“They did not lose a game, so nothing against them.

“In fact, they played to the whistle right to the end.

“And, I realise human error plays a part, too.

“However, how do we let a seven-tackle set go through from a kick-off?

“There were no breaks [in play] to throw anyone out.

“But, that call – the last one of the year – proved very costly.”

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