Luke Gale: Decision to award Josh Charnley’s try still rankles days later

I ABSOLUTELY don’t blame the video ref for our defeat against Warrington, but I am still puzzled, you could say, about how Josh Charnley’s try was awarded.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 6:00 am
Hard to take: Leeds's Brad Dwyer and Richie Myler thought they had prevented Warrington's Josh Charnley from scoring a try, but the referee and video ref thought otherwise. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

We had ample chances to win the game and were ahead by six points late on, so I am not putting the loss down to that decision, but it was a tough call.

As I said on Sky TV straight after, I think everyone in the stadium and everyone watching at home knew it wasn’t a try, but the only person who thought it was was the one who mattered.

Even after a few days, I find it quite remarkable the try was given. I was involved in the tackle and I’ve watched it three or four times since the game and just can’t understand how the video ref came up with the decision he did.

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He said yes: Warrington's Josh Charnley is congratulated by Ellis Longstaff on scoring that try. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

You can handle the ref getting it wrong on the field. It is a tough call and he has to make an instant decision, but the video ref sees it slowed down, from different angles and at no point does he see the ball touch the floor.

In fact, you can clearly see it hasn’t touched the floor, so they shouldn’t get it wrong twice. Don’t compound the first error with another.

There are times when the video ref can’t see what has happened one way or another, so when that’s the case it’s fair enough to go with the on-field call. But on this one you could clearly see a reason to overturn the decision. I can’t understand how he has come to the conclusion he should give the try.

There was another one in the game at Hull on Monday, when the referee thought Saints had scored, but the video ref overturned it for a tackle in the air.

Game over: Warrington's George Williams kicks the game- winning drop goal against Leeds. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

If now we are not allowed to make contact in the air, that takes aerial challenges out of the game. And if that’s the case, there’s no point putting up high kicks, you might as well just drill the ball into touch.

We’ve been lucky with a few penalties for high tackles in games recently. One example was when Sam Kasiano was sin-binned in the home game against Catalans. I think we have to be very careful where we are going with these rulings, because it is diluting the sport and spoiling the spectacle.

Just as I was writing this I heard I’d been suspended for two games for contact with the referee in the Warrington match. I won’t comment on that until I’ve decided whether to appeal.

Moving on, we came in for recovery on Monday and there were a few sore bodies, but I think we’re more than used to that now. It doesn’t get any easier, especially the older you get, but no matter what age you are, you will be sore after playing twice in four days.

After the win at Hull, it would have been the perfect weekend if we’d got the job done against Warrington and I am gutted we didn’t. They didn’t have to work for their tries and to be honest, I thought we were stupid in parts. I won’t go into details, but the way we handled the last five minutes was disappointing. To go from winning by six points to losing by one in the last five minutes hurt. On the other hand, I think we are in a good spot. I’d have loved to have got the job done on Sunday and then we’d have been in an amazing spot, but the team is in a good place.

It’s another short turnaround to Cas on Friday, but there’s no excuses. We will just crack on. We know what we need to do and we will 100 per cent going after this one. I know first hand how much a Cas team lift when they come to Headingley, because I’ve been there and done that. They are doing it tough at the moment, but I know they will come all guns blazing.

We’re aware of that and there’ll be no feeling sorry for ourselves, we’ll be back on the horse and going all out to get the victory.