Match Report: Round 8, 2017 vs Brisbane Broncos
The South Sydney Rabbitohs rivalry with the Brisbane Broncos has always had a touch of nastiness about it but on April 22, 2017, a controversial ANZAC Day Weekend clash would transcend this feud into a whole new realm of bitterness.
In a match that ebbed-and-flowed throughout the 80 minutes, the final few minutes would be decided by two massive calls by the on-field and video referees which would gift the Broncos a 25-24 victory.
The two decisions would leave a calm and composed Michael Maguire in disbelief and demanding an explanation not just for his team but for the diehard red and green Members and supporters.
"How do I explain that to a playing group that are working their arses off to get the results that we're after," said an exhausted Maguire.
"I've got fans out there that live and breathe this Club, how do I explain it to them about the decisions that are being made."
It was a robbery of the highest order, which left everyone in the Red and Green colours simply bewildered at the outcome of the match.
The one-point injustice otherwise marred a fantastic effort from the boys in Cardinal and Myrtle, who showed an incredible amount of steel to roar back in front after trailing 18-6 at half-time.
However, that was not to be the case as two calamitous calls, centring around Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford, would debilitate South Sydney's immense efforts.
Fighting back to lead 24-18 with just under 15 minutes to go, thanks to tries from Robert Jennings, Angus Crichton and Siosifa Talakai, the Rabbitohs were on their way to a well-deserved two points.
The first noxious incident came when Milford was stopped right before the line, before forcing his way to the in-goal.
While it appeared that the live-wire half was grounded in a tackle, he continued to squirm around trying to find the line. The ball would then slip out the back to an unmarked Tautau Moga, who simply fell over the line to score.
The on-field referee was unsure what decision to make but chose to throw it upstairs to the video referee, as a try.
The men in the Bunker could not find any reason to overturn the decision, despite evidence showing Milford's arm had hit the deck before the ball went out the back; and would award the Broncos four-points.
While Souths supporters were furious at the call, they would be left in an even greater vexatious state when, with the scores locked at 24-all and only three minutes left on the clock, the Broncos were gifted a controversial decision and were able to snatch victory.
Once again Milford was at the heart of the debate, as he slotted the winning field goal, relegating the Rabbitohs to a third straight loss.
In real time it looked like the Bronco had knocked it on. In slow motion, it looked even more conclusive.
However, no review or knock-on call was forth coming, and play was allowed to continue, which gave Milford the perfect opportunity to claim the victory for his side.
The decision was mortifying and left all those who bleed for the Red and Green jersey, in despair.
To add insult to injury, the Broncos weren't content with their spoon-fed two points, with public enemy number one Milford adamant he caught the ball clean before his winning field goal.
"There was no doubt in my mind I caught that ball on the field goal," said Milford.
"I caught it. And if I had dropped it, I wouldn't have hit it. I wouldn't even snap it."
The 'noble' Broncos remains defiant to this day.