A moment just behind the play has left Eels fans fuming all over again after it appeared Mitchell Moses was taken out at a key moment.
The Eels came oh so close to booking themselves a spot in the preliminary finals and perhaps things would have been different if a professional foul was picked up on by the match officials.
In a game where only two points decided the winner, every moment is crucial, which is why Mitchell Moses being held back caught the attention of not only Eels coach Brad Arthur but also expert analysts Braith Anasta and Cooper Cronk.
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With just over 12 minutes to go, the Eels desperately needed to score to take the lead. They found space on the right and Blake Ferguson took off down the sideline. With a couple of players closing in on him, the veteran winger put in a grubber for rookie centre Will Penisini but a Panther got his hand to it first.
However, if you kept your eyes on Moses, in the back play, after he got the ball away you would have noticed Penrith five-eighth Jarome Luai holding him back for almost 20 metres before Parramatta’s star playmaker fell over.
It’s hard to predict what would have happened if Moses hadn’t been obstructed. But the ball was knocked on by Brent Naden and then sat on its own before Matt Burton turned around to dive on it. Perhaps, if Moses hadn’t been held back he could have been there to scoop up the ball.
Arthur took aim at Penrith coach Ivan Cleary in his post-match press conference, saying “they got what they were after off the back of whinging” and also highlighted the Moses moment.
“We make a linebreak out of the backfield and Will Penisini gets tackled off the ball and Mitchell Moses is running there to chase and he gets tackled in the background off the ball,” he said.
Asked if Cleary’s recent complaints could have helped the Panthers get the rub of the green from referees, Arthur said: “It might have helped them tonight.”
Anasta backed Arthur, saying the “big” moment warranted a “clear penalty.”
“That is clearly a penalty by a long way, if not a professional foul… This moment obviously was a big one… that is a clear penalty,” he said.
Cronk agreed the Panthers should have been penalised, but also said Luai should have been sent to the bin as well.
“That is a missed opportunity, a missed penalty from the referees and the bunker. That is, every day of the week, 10 minutes in the bin,” he said.
Anasta couldn’t agree with Arthur in that the Panthers got the better calls, but he labelled that costly no-call a “bad” one.
“I didn’t see the game as refereed in favour of Penrith…but that was a bad decision.”
Originally published as A sin bin ‘every day of the week’: The moment that went unseen — and burnt Eels