Controversy mars Souths Logan & Burleigh


SOUTHS Logan chief executive Jim McClelland has apologised unreservedly for a freak time-keeping error which may have cost Burleigh a spot in the finals, saying he felt ?sick in the guts? after the Magpies and Bears controversially drew 32-all on Saturday.

With two minutes remaining in the vital match at Brandon Park, Burleigh had a prime opportunity to score after being given the scrum feed 20m out from Souths? line. As players dawdled to the scrum referee Michael Wise blew time off, with the time-keeper noting the stoppage.

However when play was restarted, the time-keeper accidentally hit both the time clock and the fulltime siren on the remote control panel. Subsequently, Wise raised his arm to signify the last play of the game and Burleigh threw the ball around ad-lib, giving away possession and almost resulting in a Magpies? try at the other end of the field.

?As soon as (the timekeeper) hit the siren he announced over the loud speaker that it was a malfunction,? McClelland explained.

?But because the referee had already raised his arm and the play had been affected, we couldn?t play on. Ideally I would have liked to see the scrum repacked and Burleigh have the feed again, but we checked with the referees? co-ordinator and he said we didn?t have much choice.

?I know we?ll be called cheats, but I?m dead-set devastated by it. It was a huge day for us, we had an Old Boys reunion in the crowd and we?d come from 16 points behind. It wasn?t the ending that the game deserved. It was a genuine mistake.

?Looking at Burleigh?s position on the ladder, I can understand why they were so upset.?

McClelland said the time-keeper responsible, a long-standing official with the club, was so distressed by his mistake that he had left the ground immediately. He later rang McClelland at 10pm to offer his resignation from all duties with the club.

Burleigh coach Jimmy Lenihan said although the circumstances of the afternoon were ?farcical?, he would not imply there was anything underhanded in the error. He also criticised his own players for letting Souths Logan back in the game after they led 26-14 at halftime.

In the closing stages lock Robert Apanui had a try disallowed after he was ruled to have interfered with a Souths Logan player on a kick chase. The sin-binning of five-eighth Jamie Russo for dissent was another particular sore point.

?Penalties for backchat haven?t helped us the last few games. It?s our own problem and we need to show some discipline in that area,? Lenihan said.

?We were in a position to win, but again inconsistency was a problem and we paid the price.?

Compounding the result, prop Ali Brown played no part in the second half due to a shoulder injury. He is at long odds to play against North Queensland in next Saturday?s Match of the Round. Burleigh is now three points behind fifth-placed Tweed Heads on the table and has one less game in hand.

In good news for Souths Logan and the Wizard Cup, Brandon Costin says he will play again in 2007,

SOUTHS LOGAN 32 (Tyrone Coppedge 2, Damian Willis, Derek Fletcher, Chris Sandow, Tanu Wulf tries; Chris Sandow 4 goals) drew BURLEIGH 32 (Reggie Cressbrook, Trent Purdon, Jordan Atkins, Aseri Laing, Clay Harris, Ryan Gundry tries; Reggie Cressbrook 4 goals) at Brandon Park.