NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 31: Adam Cuthbertson of the Knights scores a try during the round four NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Canberra Raiders at Hunter Stadium on March 31, 2013 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images) Photo: Tony Feder iuytre
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A bruised and battered Canberra is furious Newcastle’s Akuila Uate escaped punishment for tackling Jack Wighton in the air after the Raiders winger hurt his wrist in Sunday night’s 28-12 loss at Hunter Stadium.
Early in the second half, with Canberra leading 16-12, Wighton leapt for a bomb but appeared to be tackled by opposite number Uate before his feet hit the ground.
Wighton has carried his wrist injury all season but the Raiders fear he may have broken it in his exchange with Uate.
Referees Gerard Sutton and Brett Suttor ruled a knock-on against Wighton, and the Knights scored off the next set when halfback Tyrone Roberts embarrassed Josh Papalii with a dummy.
The Raiders were also unhappy Knights hooker Danny Buderus was not penalised for a clear shoulder charge on Canberra centre Blake Ferguson in the second half.
Canberra coach David Furner is likely to seek clarification from referees boss Daniel Anderson.
Asked if there would be any team changes for next week, Furner replied: ‘‘I’m not thinking about that at the moment.
‘‘I’m thinking a couple of mandatory penalties would have helped us in the second half. There’s a couple I thought were mandatory.’’
Officials have heavily policed the shoulder charge since it was banned before the start of this season.
Ferguson lay on the ground for some time before playing the rest of the match after the Buderus hit, but Furner was bemused it did not result in a penalty.
‘‘I’m very surprised – very, very surprised,’’ Furner said. ‘‘There’s been a lot of ‘hoo-ha’ about it. I had a quick look at it on the replay [after the game] and it summed it up.’’
Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss (shoulder) and winger Sandor Earl (hamstring) will be assessed this week, while Knights skipper Kurt Gidley (concussion) played no part in the second half.
Having led 12-10 at half-time, a litany of errors and poor discipline cost the Raiders badly, the Knights scoring 18 unanswered second–half points.
In an early season hole at 1-3, Canberra need to regroup for crucial home assignments against the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors the next fortnight.
The Raiders trailed 10-0 early after Knights tries to Uate and fellow winger Anthony Quinn, but took a 12-10 lead through tries to Joel Thompson and Papalii.
However, momentum swung back in the Knights’ favour when Roberts’ ‘‘show and go’’ completely fooled Papalii.
Furner did not blame referees for the loss, saying Canberra was again its own worst enemy at times, especially in the second half.
They handed the Knights chance after chance, and two soft second-half tries to Newcastle prop Adam Cuthbertson sealed their fate.
Furner criticised the last-play options of halves Sam Williams and Josh McCrone, who are coming under increased pressure.
‘‘Our last play options, our kicking game was pretty poor tonight,’’ Furner said.
‘‘We didn’t give ourselves a chance in that first half, we visited their line four times and we didn’t even get a repeat set.
‘‘There were times there where our defensive principles and our discipline let us down.’’
Roberts backed up his starring effort in last week’s thrashing of the Cowboys with another brilliant effort, while Newcastle prop Kade Snowden made 192 metres from 16 runs.
As usual, Raiders lock Shaun Fensom was tireless with 103 metres and 59 tackles, while centre Ferguson (eight tackle breaks) looked threatening whenever he touched the ball.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 28 (Adam Cuthbertson 2, Akuila Uate, Anthony Quinn, Tyrone Roberts, tries; Roberts 3, Kurt Gidley goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 12 (Joel Thompson, Josh Papalii tries; Jarrod Croker 2 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Referee: Gerard Sutton, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 18,689.
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