NRL news 2022, Broncos vs Rabbitohs, stupid rule, video, Herbie Farnworth, Phil Gould, referee Grant Atkins

In-form Brisbane was burned by a penalty before half-time that referee Grant Atkins had to stop himself labelling “stupid”.

It was minutes before the break and the underdog Broncos led South Sydney 12-0 on the back of some staunch defence.

They were once again hold the Rabbitohs out, defending their own goal-line, when South Sydney played the ball back to no one at dummy half.

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Spotting Bunnies hooker Damien Cook out of position, Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth made the smart play and pounced from marker to grab the loose ball, which should have handed his side possession.

Instead, Atkins blew a penalty.

“You can’t do that mate – the laws of the game say you can’t just dive in behind the ruck,” Atkins said.

“He’s got to try and pick it up and run. I know it’s a s… the laws of the game say you can’t dive on a loose ball.”

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Atkins hesitated while explaining the rule to the Broncos, but Phil Gould knew exactly what the referee wanted to say.

“He wanted to say it’s a stupid rule – it is a stupid rule,” Gould told Nine.

“They’ve got no dummy half, he runs around and dives on the ball. (Atkins) says you’ve got to pick it up and run, you can’t dive on it.

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“Is that not the most stupid rule you’ve ever heard?

“The referee almost said ‘it is a stupid rule’, he had to stop himself halfway through, or else he will get fined.”

Soon after that bizarre incident, South Sydney scored its first try to make it 12-6 at half time.

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