Canterbury has rocked finals-bound South Sydney with a dramatic 26-16 victory after a spectacular refereeing error threatened to derail the match.
Just two weeks out from the finals, the spotlight is on referees after the Rabbitohs were awarded a first-half try despite Jaxson Paulo’s right foot going into touch in goal before he grounded the ball at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
Fortunately for Klein the blown call did not cost the Bulldogs their third win of the season.
Klein awarded Paulo’s try in the 33rd minute on the advice of touch judge Phil Henderson, who missed the error despite standing in perfect position.
The Bulldogs were leading 20-0 at the time, and despite leaking another two tries, they managed to hold on to stun the Rabbitohs.
They also achieved the victory after losing halfback Lachlan Lewis when he copped a high hit in the first half.
Rabbitohs second rower Jaydn Su’a could be set for an extended stint on the sidelines for the high shot on the Bulldogs number seven.
Lewis stumbled to his feet and fumbled the ball, with replays showing Su’a caught him on the jaw as the half slipped into the tackle.
Despite a passionate plea from Rabbitohs captain Adam Reynolds, Su’a was sent to the sin-bin and the Bulldogs scored soon after.
It will be an anxious wait on the match review committee’s ruling on Friday morning given Su’a missed round 13 for a dangerous contact charge.
For the sixth-placed Rabbitohs, who play local rivals the Sydney Roosters next week, the loss could prove costly to their hopes of securing a home final.
They could drop a spot to seventh on the ladder ahead of the final round if results this weekend do not go their way.
Five-eighth Cody Walker was most dangerous for the Rabbitohs with two try assists, while Campbell Graham and Alex Johnston crossed for tries.
Reimis Smith, Chris Smith, Tim Lafai and Raymond Faitala-Mariner all bagged tries for the Bulldogs in a fitting win for captain Josh Jackson in his 200th NRL match.
The Bulldogs though have moved off the bottom of the ladder, leaving Brisbane in the box seat to claim an unwanted first wooden spoon.
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South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, National Rugby League, Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters
World news – AU – Referee howler nearly overshadows Bulldogs’ stunning NRL upset of South Sydney