Richard Agar has hit out at video referee Robert Hicks after Leeds Rhinos were on the wrong end of a controversial call in the 27-26 defeat to Warrington Wolves.
The Rhinos were 18-12 up in the early stages of the second half when Josh Charnley appeared to have been held up by Brad Dwyer.
However, on-field referee Chris Kendall sent it up as a try based on a call from the touch judge and Hicks could find no evidence to overturn the decision despite video replays suggesting Charnley did not get the ball down and may even have lost it.
Agar did not hold back in his post-match press conference, referring to another incident that was missed by Hicks in last year’s play-off loss to Catalans Dragons.
“Fatigue did get us a little bit at some crucial moments but we could have managed the last five minutes a lot better when we were six points up,” said the Rhinos head coach.
“We thought we were well on top first half and probably didn’t have enough daylight on the scoreboard to show for it.
“It’s a real shame that one of the deciding factors has been a try given by the video ref that clearly, clearly wasn’t a try – nowhere near a try.
“You just wonder what he was looking at. Robert Hicks was the video ref when we played Catalans in the play-offs last year when Michael McIlorum knocked out Brad Dwyer. Again, the audio on that he said he didn’t see the foul.
“I cannot see in all the replays we saw where there’s any evidence that ball touched the floor. I know it went up as a try but there’s certainly evidence to suggest from every single angle that ball didn’t get down.
“That ball didn’t get down, nowhere near. So how on earth he’s come up with a try on that, I’m just not real sure.”
The Rhinos recovered to lead 26-20 with five minutes to go but shot themselves in the foot on more than one occasion, with Tom Briscoe throwing a sloppy forward pass in his own 40 and Dwyer hitting Zane Tetevano in the back of the head with a drop-goal attempt.
That rushed effort gave Warrington the field position to win it through George Williams’ last-gasp one-pointer.
While Agar was left incensed by Hicks’ decision, he felt Leeds were their own worst enemies at times.
“I feel sorry for our guys having to put up with decisions like that,” he added.
Josh Charnley’s controversial try
(Image: © SWpix.com (t/a Photography Hub Ltd))
“But I don’t want to deflect from the fact that we were six points up with the ball in our hands when we invited Warrington back in to score.
“That’s the disappointing aspect for me. We allowed Warrington to score on the back of three fundamental errors that we made.
“The last one in particular in the situation of the game was a tough one for us.”
It was a big effort from the Rhinos three days on from the win at Hull FC but ultimately they left Headingley empty-handed.
Worse may yet be to come after Mikolaj Oledzki – among Leeds’ top performers again – was forced off late on after appearing to aggravate a troublesome foot injury.
“I’ve been pitchside for 20 minutes waiting for my Sky interview so unfortunately I’ve only spent a minute in the changing room,” said Agar.
“We’ll wait and see. I think it’s his foot again so maybe it’s a recurrence of what he’s had.”