After a tight first half where the Highlanders built an early 10-0 lead, the Crusaders exploded with 36 unanswered points, overcoming a 10-7 half time deficit.
However, despite the brilliance of the Crusaders, their questionable contests at the breakdown came under the spotlight as referee Ben O’Keeffe failed to take action until the 80th minute.
After repeated warnings, only after the fulltime buzzer did he decide to go to the pocket to yellow card Crusaders replacement prop Ben Funnel.
They’ve won the game fair and square, but this ref has let the Crusaders off the hook with all these pens. Could’ve and should’ve had at least two yellows for all these pens #CRUvHIG
— Ben (@WotTheDeuce) April 12, 2019
"You can't just keep giving away penalties."
Apart from the ones you've been giving away for the last 20 minutes.
Crusaders are the better side and deserved winners, but O'Keeffe has been horrendous.#CRUvHIG
— Ryan Nixadipo (@NewYorkNixon) April 12, 2019
That's about 4 times I've seen a crusader rip a ball out of a tackled players hands after his knees are on the ground…is the rule different for them? #CRUvHIG
— michael seymour (@mikecmore) April 12, 2019
I am however slightly confused how the Crusaders continually are able to get warned for penalties in the red zone match after match yet commit further penalties and keep playing with 15 #CRUvHIG
— Steve (@littlesteve) April 12, 2019
— Brumbies Boy (@brumby_fan) April 12, 2019
seriously he's keep telling them off about infringements where's the card #CRUvHIG
— ??L? (@TafiaPrincess) April 12, 2019
Refs for sure left his cards in the shed #CRUvHIG
— Jenna Lloyd (@JennaMareeLloyd) April 12, 2019
#CRUvHIG a crusader played the ball off the ground in FRONT of the ref, and he let's it go??? WTF???
— Joseph (@joenotaverage) April 12, 2019
— Hutch (@hutch_23_) April 12, 2019
Highlanders captain Ben Smith was heard on the referee mic early in the match asking the referee to police the ruck area as he said his side wanted to play with tempo and was concerned the Crusaders were deliberately slowing the ball down.
Will anyone be able to stop the Crusaders if they are allowed to make a mockery of the ruck every week?
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