As a shattered Nicho Hynes rued the Sharks’ two-point defeat to the Cowboys in a marathon qualifying final on Saturday night, the Cronulla halfback made it clear he disagreed with a sin-bin call.
A pulsating clash between Cronulla and North Queensland at Shark Park, won by the Cowboys 32-20 after 92 minutes, was hit by controversy when Connor Tracey was sin-binned in the 73rd minute.
As Valentine Holmes pursued a Chad Townsend grubber deep in Cronulla territory, Tracey impeded the North Queensland centre illegally, the Bunker deemed.
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The Cowboys capitalised on the Sharks being one man down for 10 minutes, scoring a penalty goal and a converted try to square the scores at 30-30 by the end of the 80 minutes.
Moments after a 45-metre Holmes field goal clinched victory for the Cowboys in golden point, Hynes ripped the decision to send Tracey to the sin bin in a raw interview on Nine’s coverage.
“A bit hard done by, I reckon, (with) that sin-bin,” Hynes said.
“Shoulder to shoulder and you get sin-binned for that.
“But we’ve still got to defend our line there.”
Brad Fittler defended the sin-bin decision.
“Connor Tracey did his best to actually look like he was going for the ball, and he was getting his arm around Valentine Holmes,” Fittler said.
“It’d be interesting if you actually sat him down and asked him what he was actually doing.
“I felt like he was going a bit both ways.
“But I think (the decision) was fairly legitimate.
Holmes magic seals epic final
“The ref and the Bunker are put in a very tough situation there.
“The fact is he goes into Valentine Holmes and uses his body to push him.”
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Cameron Smith offered a different perspective.
“I think because Val Holmes was between him and the ball … he was sort of blinded of when Val Holmes was going to take control of that football,” Smith said.
“So I think he was just banking on Val getting the ball in his hands and trying to knock it free or even trying to hold him up.
“A bit of a tough one there.”
Saturday night’s qualifying final was a clash between the second-placed Sharks and third-placed Cowboys.
The Cowboys earned the second weekend of the finals off in their gripping triumph, while the Sharks will meet the winner of the Roosters-Rabbitohs elimination final in a semi final.
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