Wayne Bennett sin bin criticism: Was the Bunker correct during the Dolphins and Raiders match?

In the aftermath of the Dolphins comeback victory over the Raiders last weekend, Wayne Bennett questioned two decisions from the officials that resulted in a player from each side being sent to the sin bin.

In the closing stages of the second half, Canberra backrower Hudson Young was marched for preventing a try from an offside position before Dolphins halfback Sean O’Sullivan then joined him in the sheds for a high shot on Corey Harawira-Naera.

NRL admit that Sean O’Sullivan sin bin was ‘harsh’ 

“I’m not sure where that was all going,” a bemused Bennett said post-match.

MORE: Tabuai-Fidow writes Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins into the history books with win over Canberra

“At no stage did Sean try to tackle him…it was just two players in a collision.”

During his weekly briefing, Graham Annesley has argued that in the footage available to the Bunker during the game, he could understand why the decision was made to penalise O’Sullivan.  

“The Bunker felt like there was head contact in that tackle,” he said.

“On the basis of the information available to the Bunker in the short time that they had to review this, they felt it was A late and B being high – that warranted a sin bin.

“In hindsight and with the benefit of time the match review committee went through all available angles and determined that if there was any head contact at all it was only minor.

“They basically cleared the head contact component which is the major component the Bunker looks for in these types of tackles.”

Bennett had chalked the hit down to nothing more than an accident and said there had to be some discretion applied in the rules.

“At the end of the day, our game is a collision game and they’ve got to recognise that,” the coach said.

Yet despite admitting the decision to send O’Sullivan off for 10 minutes was harsh, Annesley claimed he understood how the Bunker had come to the conclusion that his tackle warranted serious consequences.  

“Can I understand how they get there? Yes, I can. Am I going to be critical of them? No, I’m not,” Annesley said.  

“It turns out, of course, that there was no charge laid so you could argue in theory maybe the sin bin was harsh.

“But on the basis of the information that the Bunker had available to advise the referee then I can’t be too critical of it.”

Did the Bunker correctly dismiss Hudson Young for being offside? 

The decision from Gerard Sutton in the Bunker to sin bin Young can’t be placed under the same scrutiny, according to Annesley.  

He highlighted this by revealing Canberra hadn’t complained to the NRL or sought an explanation from them for the incident that resulted in the No.11 being dismissed.

“He gets up off the ground and tries to get around the front…doesn’t quite get there but makes the tackle anyway,” Annesley said.

Bennett had surprisingly gone into bat for the opposition when he questioned the logic of the dismissal during his press conference.

“I thought the other bin on them was tough as well,” he said.

“It’s a huge price to pay- 10 minutes in the bin.

“The ref didn’t have a lot of problems with the game, the players were playing within the rules pretty well, trying their hearts out and I just thought that was a pretty tough sin-binning.

“If they’d done two or three in row, well I understand that, but that was just a one-off marker.”

However, Annesley argued the sin bin was warranted after Young clearly denied Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow a four-pointer.

“He’s actually the player that prevents the try from being scored,” he said.

“So, from an offside position at ruck, who was never there at marker, he makes the tackle. It was deemed to be a professional foul and a sin bin.”

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