‘Was that any worse?’: Wayne Bennett erupts over controversial golden point thriller as Raiders, Jordan Rapana beat Dolphins

The Canberra Raiders did the unthinkable in their 26-25 Golden Points win over the Dolphins at Kayo Stadium on Saturday night.

Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana was the hero, kicking the first two field goals of his career in a stunning result where both sides had plenty of chances to equalise.

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After losing Jesse Bromwich in the opening minutes to a suspected rib injury, the Dolphins spent most of the game on defense.

The Dolphins equalized in the 67th minute after a try to winger Kurt Donoghoe before Jamayne Isaako converted the touchline to make it 24 times.

Isaako then put the Dolphins ahead with a field goal in the 71st minute before Rapana hit his first one-point shot to send the sides to the golden point.

But the drama didn’t end there.

The Raiders defended almost the entire opening five-minute stanza of the golden point, thanks to poor play.

Just over 90 seconds into extra time, Isaako looked to have scored the winner, only for referee Adam Gee to penalize the Dolphins as lock Max Plath moved off his line to block the attempted shot.

“Blockers – we were promised the refs would be tougher on that,” Dan Ginnane said.

The rule was changed in the offseason after players in controversial moments blocked the path of players trying to take downs or pressure the shooter.

Another field goal attempt by Isaak was denied, while Isaiya Katoa then left the next set alone, only to be knocked off the ball by Rapana shoulder-to-shoulder.

The Raiders scored in the final seconds of the first overtime period, with Rapana firing wide.

The second half started with Isaak’s strike before Rapana hit the winner despite Jeremy Marshall-King getting a touch on the ball.

However, Marshall-King claimed he was obstructed on the way to the impeachment attempt.

Replay showed Marshall-King touched the ball, meaning if he had gotten there earlier, he could have had more of an impact on the field goal attempt.

“A controversial game has a controversial ending,” Ginnane said. “Dolphins denied field goal, Raiders allowed for same crime Dolphins claim.”

Corey Parker said that “at first glance it looks like Marshall-King is holding back,” though he didn’t seem convinced on a second viewing.

But Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett was livid after the game.

When asked “Wayne, you’ve never really been a fan of the golden point, I don’t think that’s influenced your opinion,” Bennett said, “No.”

When asked about the Plath decision, Bennett didn’t hold back.

“You will have to wait for Graham Annesley to produce his report on all the mistakes they made,” he said.

“Joe Tapine, was it any worse than what Max Plath did? I got two players out tonight, no reports, no penalties, both were upside down. And they both had to leave the field.

“Like I said, you’ll have to ask them. I can’t answer these questions because I don’t have the answers.”

Asked if he was surprised they didn’t look at Tapine’s act at the crucial moment, Bennett said: “I’m not surprised.

“They looked at a few things tonight and didn’t change their mind. Connolly (Lemuelu) was tackled with a very violent head lift as he tried to pick up a loose ball on the ground but no action was taken. And then there was another one with Herbie Farnworth. No action was taken.

“But both times the doctor in the Bunker sends them for head examinations because they were hit in the head.

“Nothing will change, but I think my players need some answers. That’s the only satisfaction we’ll get.”

Bennett said he would not contact Annesley before Monday, repeating: “Nothing will change.”

After the press conference, Fox League’s Cooper Cronk said Bennett did

“I think Wayne calculated everything he said and it was a timely reminder,” Cronk said.

“I tend to agree with him. Rapana hit a field goal for the game-winner, Marshall-King appearing to think he was intercepted on the run. We never watched it again, but it will be interesting to see what comes of it.”

But despite the penalty count going against them at 6-2, Australian coach and Immortal Mal Meninga claimed the Dolphins had “greens” in the second half.

“I just felt it was leveling off,” he said. “The ebb and flow, sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. What can you do now? There is nothing you can do about it.”

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