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Titans' Cartwright rues costly decision

Heart-broken Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright has blamed a video-refereeing decision for costing his side a chance to play in the NRL finals.
Titans' Cartwright rues costly decision
by AAP

(Eds: Closes off earlier copy)

By Melissa Woods

MELBOURNE, Sept 7 AAP - Heart-broken Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright has blamed a video-refereeing decision for costing his side a chance to play in the NRL finals.

The Titans were beaten 23-22 in golden point by defending champions Melbourne Storm, with Cooper Cronk slotting a long-range field goal with two minutes remaining at AAMI Park.

Gold Coast needed to win and hope other results fell their way to book a place in the top eight.

Cartwright was seething over a decision with six minutes left in regular time when Titans five-eighth Aiden Sezer looked to have scored when he scooped up a loose Billy Slater ball.

However video referees Chris Ward and Justin Morgan ruled that Ben Ridge had hit the ball from Slater's hands which meant a knock-on and no try.

The Gold Coast still tied the match up with a converted try, scored by winger Anthony Don, with two minutes left on the clock but couldn't do anything before extra time.

"It cost us our season," Cartwright said.

"How he came up with the decision I really don't know.

"The refs on the field were shocked, the whole crowd was shocked.

"Our season was on the line, it's heart-breaking, I've never felt like this, ever."

Co-captain Greg Bird said that he spoke to Melbourne players on the field after the game who agreed that Ridge didn't touch the ball.

"There must have been a secret camera angle that I didn't see standing out on the field," Bird said.

"I don't know how they came up with it."

Melbourne are set to play the minor premiers Sydney Roosters in a qualifying final next Saturday night at Allianz Stadium unless Penrith upset Manly in their final round clash on Sunday.

It was a spirited performance by both sides, the Storm fighting back from 16-6 after Titans powerhouse forward Dave Taylor scored one try and set up another in the first half.

Taylor started following the late withdrawal of Nate Myles with an ankle injury and delivered his best performance of the season.

Slater finished with two tries for the home side.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said it was an improvement on their 20-point loss to Manly last round, particularly their second half defence.

He described it as a "mixed bag".

"It was a strange old game, there were some good parts and not so good parts so hopefully we can put it all together next week," Bellamy said.

"We got a tough work-out there so hopefully it's good for us coming into the next part of the season.

The Storm lost veteran five-eighth Brett Finch to a sternum injury late in the first half, and he will go for scans on Sunday.

England international Gareth Widdop is playing in their feeder side in the Queensland Cup on Sunday in his comeback from a dislocated hip in a timely return.


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