The captain’s challenge has had a bumpy first weekend in the NRL but the Manly Sea Eagles fans appear to love the new rule after a rare success.
But it wasn’t enough to claim the win with the Melbourne Storm running away with an 18-4 win at Lottoland with a big comeback.
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Approaching halftime, the Sea Eagles were attacking the line with captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans with the ball.
With nowhere to go after he caught his own chip over the top, he put in a second kick but the referee called it an air swing, much to Cherry-Evans’ incredulity.
Cherry-Evans had kicked it — only just — but it rolled forward with Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr sticking his boot out and kicking it into his teammate Kenny Bromwich who was in an off-side position.
Cherry-Evans took the call upstairs and it came out for a win for the Sea Eagles with a scrum for the accidental off-side.
And the Sea Eagles fans loved it, going up as one to cheer the result.
Fox Sports’ Andrew Voss said “They love the captain’s challenge, they think it’s the best thing ever, the best thing ever to be brought into the game.”
Manly fans love the captain’s challenge.Source:FOX SPORTS
While it was exactly the reason the rule was brought into the game, legends continue to take aim at the rule.
For Andrew Johns, the problem is that it takes too much time.
The deflection off Addo-Carr onto Bromwich was correctly challenged by the Sea Eagles, but it took one minute and 44 seconds for the Bunker to come to a decision.
The rugby league Immortal is not a fan of the captain’s challenge.
“Hashtag let the game flow,” he began. “I’m not on Twitter or whatever it is but they’re so fit these days they work around their fitness and their recovery is around 40 seconds when they’re working around those really high pressure at training, so if you give them a minute 40, their petrol tanks go back up to full — it just takes too long. Too many stoppages, too much pressure on the referee with the captain’s challenge. I don’t like it, other people like it but it takes too long.”
Brad Fittler added: “The thing about this instance is was the captain that knew he kicked the ball. I’ve seen front-rowers putting their hands up for captain’s challenges this weekend and I’m like ‘yeah right’.”
While the Sea Eagles were on the right side of the captain’s challenge, it wasn’t so on the socreboard.
After a tryless first half saw Manly go to the break with a 4-2 lead, the Storm hit back early in the second half through Suliasi Vunivalu.
The Storm winger had been heavily criticised for his leaping knee but turned hero, being on the end of two tries.
When he leapt into the defence in the first half, the commentators were perplexed.
“What are you doing, Suli, my friend?!” Fox League commentator Andrew Voss exclaimed.
“You’re not meant to hurdle the defence!”
Co-commentator Michael Ennis added: “You can’t do that. You can’t do it.”
But he was on the end of two perfect kicks to score in the corner and build a 14-4 lead before Tom Eisenhuth scored his maiden NRL try, latching on to a Cameron Smith grubber to claim the 18-4 victory.
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