NRL news 2022: Brad Fittler fumes at Matt Lodge high shot debacle, video

Brad Fittler has slammed the Bunker after Warriors prop Matt Lodge was permitted to stay on the field despite an “awful” high shot.

New South Wales Blues coach Brad Fittler has accused the Bunker of having “no feel for the game” after Warriors prop Matt Lodge was permitted to stay on the field despite an “awful” high shot during Saturday afternoon’s match against the Canberra Raiders.

The men in green were leading by two points when Canberra forward Corey Horsburgh tackled Lodge 15 metres out from the tryline with less than two minutes remaining on the clock.

The Warriors players immediately threw their arms in air to indicate Horsburgh’s tackle was high, but replays showed that his first contact was with Lodge’s forearm before sliding up and making minimal contact with the head.

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Boos echoed around Moreton Daily Stadium as Lodge lay on the deck clutching at his face — Wests Tigers great Steve Roach accused him of “playing for the penalty”.

But the commentators were left gobsmacked when Horsburgh was put on report and the Warriors were awarded a penalty.

Teenage phenom Reece Walsh made no mistake with the penalty kick, equalling the scores and sending the game to Golden Point

“I can’t believe it was a penalty,” former Queensland representative Brent Tate fumed on Fox League:

“We go back to the problem we have with the bunker interfering in games. I don’t know what to say to be honest, it just was not a penalty at all, it was a very soft one.

“There is no dangerous contact with his head at all and as a result we’ve got players laying down, it’s just not a great look for our game at all.”

Earlier in the match, Lodge was placed on report for raising his elbow into the face of Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera while carrying the ball.

The 26-year-old copped a $1000 fine for what the match review committee deemed grade-one dangerous contact, but Fittler was not impressed.

“Matt Lodge elbows a bloke in the head, and just gets penalised, then lies down after getting a little tap on the forward and draws the penalty that draws the game and gives them a chance to win,” he told Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show.

“I thought that was awful. That was a bad elbow, got him straight in the head. He only got penalised.

“If I’m in the Bunker … they had absolutely no feel for the game. I saw that, I’m going, ‘There’s no way in the world I’m giving a penalty in this situation’. He barely touched him.

“(His elbow should be) minimum sin bin. Minimum. Seriously. It was straight at his head.”

Melbourne Storm legend Billy Slater agreed: “Forceful contact to the head in any form is a sin bin.

“And that (later incident) is not a penalty.”

The Warriors ultimately claimed a one-point Golden Point victory, with halfback Shaun Johnson booting a field goal in extra time to secure the comeback win.

Canberra will next face the Canterbury Bulldogs at GIO Stadium on Friday evening, with kick-off scheduled for 6pm AEST.

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