NRL Grand Final 2019: Robinson’s icy response to Thurston
Roosters coach Trent Robinson's smile dropped as soon as Johnathan Thurston addressed the elephant in the room during following the Roosters' NRL Grand Final triumph.
Robinson took aim at Thurston for asking him a tough question during Channel 9's post-match coverage - but it just happened to be the question NRL fans wanted him to ask the most.
The premiership winning coach gave Thurston a frosty response when the Cowboys legend asked him about how he saw the controversial moment the match was turned on its head in the 72nd minute when the referee Ben Cummins backflipped on his initial decision to award the Raiders six more tackles.
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After a season in which the referees have frequently had the spotlight on them, they are yet again dominating headlines following an incident which is set to rock Rugby League Central.
With the scores tied at 8-8, the Raiders had the Roosters on the rack and looked to have earned a repeat set when Tedesco failed to reel in a Jack Wighton bomb. Cummins waved his arms in the air to signal six again but, when Wighton was tackled with the ball, they ruled a handover.
Heartbreakingly for Ricky Stuart's side, the Roosters scored off the next set with Luke Keary exploding down the blind side and Latrell Mitchell producing a beautiful flick pass to unlock Daniel Tupou for Tedesco to score between the posts.
It was the most decisive passage of play in the Grand Final - but Robinson appeared affronted to even be asked about it.
"Robbo, Cummins waved six to go, then called fifth tackle. What is your thought on that," Thurston asked.
Robinson responded by trying to deflect the question.
"On refereeing for the whole game," he said, staring Thurston down and leaving Peter Sterling and James Bracey sitting awkwardly on the broadcast desk.
"He yelled six to go and you scored off the back of that," Thurston again challenged Robinson.
The coach responded: "Look, I don't see that. Did you - you felt as though we got lucky there, JT?"
Thurston refused to take a backwards step.
"I was just saying because he called six to go and then he's called fifth tackle, so I was just asking what your thoughts were on that," he said.
"Mate my thoughts? Honestly if you are bringing that up at this time there could have been lots of decisions that we want to go through," Robinson said.
"What are my thoughts on that? I thought that we were under the pump for a lot of that game and we fought hard and we won the game.
"I felt like there was a lot of controversy at different times and we decided to take advantage of it. We decided to make a difference and change the momentum of the game and we did."
Sterling then interjected to ask Robinson an easier question about his Grand Final debutants.
Thurston was widely applauded for asking the tough question.
"Dumbfounded. I'm dumbfounded by that," Thurston told Nine.
"You can hear the referees calling it, 'Six again, six again'. And then he's changed his mind. It was changing the call on the run.
"It's not a good look. It is not a good look at all. I would be pretty shattered if I was the Raiders. The next set, Tedesco scores and wins them the match. Really, it is not a great look. As a team, you want to take the referees out of the equation and win the game being a consistent footy team.
"It's just a huge, huge call."
Thurston was widely applauded for his stern question to Robinson.
Trent Robinson not impressed that Thurston asked him about the six again ruling on the Nine panel, almost took offence. It’s 100% the right question, no need to back down.— Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) October 6, 2019
Credit to league legend JT with the hard-hitting sports journalism in that moment, too. Asking the Six Again Question of Trent Robinson, who was... not happy about it.— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 6, 2019