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Sharks coach baffled by NRL scrum rules

John Morris has become the second coach to air his frustrations over NRL referees during the weekend, claiming they missed a knock-on that even the game’s youngest fans would have spotted.

The Sharks’ 14-12 loss swung on a bizarre two-minute period, where a Blake Ferguson fumble with 13 minutes to go was ruled to have gone backwards before a Dylan Brown break.

With scores locked at 12-12, the Eels pushed hard to win a scrum against the feed at Cronulla’s end of the field, before kicking the match-winning penalty goal two tackles later.

Morris said he would contact the NRL on Monday to question what was and what wasn’t allowed in scrums, and could not work out why Ferguson’s spill was not called up for a knock-on.

“Under-sevens watching that game of football know that’s a knock-on,” Morris said.

“It was clearly a knock-on.

“(And) I’m not quite sure what that scrum was but it looked pretty ugly to me.

“I’ve seen a lot of those throughout the year get called back. No you can’t push, yes, you can push.

“What are the rules around scrums these days? Are we allowed to push like that?

“Some clarity around it would be good … I’m not here to say it was the wrong call.

Morris had no issue with the penalty that allowed the Eels to kick 14-12 clear but he was also unsure about a try Cronulla were denied earlier in the match.

The Sharks scored three tries to two in the loss, and they were also thought they had one in the first half before the bunker ruled Ronaldo Mulitalo offside chasing a Shaun Johnson kick.

“I can’t really question the video ref on it. The touch judges are right there and the ref is there and they send it up as a try,” Morris said.

“I thought it was a try, but of course I am going to think that.

“But when it is sent upstairs as a try and the touchie is there and the ref says it’s a try, I thought it was a 50-50 that could have been a try.

“But at the end of the day Parramatta were good enough to stay in the fight.”

Morris’ comments came after Ivan Cleary claimed he felt Canberra were managed back into his side’s 28-12 win over the Raiders on Saturday night.

Peter V’landys rebuked those comments on Sunday, labelling them “deplorable”, “despicable” and among the most disappointing things he’s seen as ARLC chairman.

Meanwhile the Sharks’ loss meant they finished the round in eighth on 14 points, still two a win points clear of Manly after the Ea Eagles’ shock loss to the Warriors.

The Wests Tigers are further back on 10 points in 10th after being flogged by 44-4 by Newcastle, with results working in the favour of the Knights and South Sydney in fifth and sixth.

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