Seven controversial Magic Weekend moments

1. 2007 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
In the final match of the inaugural Magic Weekend in Cardiff, Leeds Rhinos defeated Bradford Bulls 42-38 with referee Steve Ganson awarding a last-minute matchwinning try to the Rhinos’ Jordan Tansey, when Tansey had clearly touched down from an offside position after following up Kevin Sinfield’s failed penalty kick that, if successful, would have drawn the match.
Remarkably, Ganson failed to refer the decision to the video referee and the score, and the result, both stood.
“The referee decided the game,” said Bradford coach Steve McNamara. “It was ludicrous, ridiculous and I’m sick to the teeth.”

2. 2008 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Stuart Reardon’s try for Warrington against Huddersfield was awarded when Reardon appeared to have been tackled just short of the line and the Wolves were behind 22-6 to the Giants. Referee Ben Thaler could clearly be heard on the video tape of the game shouting: “One, he’s short guys.” But when he referred the decision to the video referee the try was awarded without listening to the tape and the Wolves went on to win the game 36-34.

3. 2010 Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Huddersfield Giants coach Nathan Brown suggested a “vigilante movement” could enter Rugby League if referees didn’t give more protection to smaller players. His comments came after Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin conceded no more than a penalty for flattening Luke Robinson with a late tackle, as Wigan won the game 28-10.

4. 2011 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wakefield and Castleford supporters were frustrated by 37 penalties being awarded by referee James Child, with 22 of them being awarded against Wakefield, as the Tigers gained a disjointed 40-20 victory. Most of the penalties were given for offences at the play-the-ball, causing the RFL’s Match Officials Director Stuart Cummings to deny that he had introduced any changes to the refereeing of the tackle.


5. 2012 Etihad Stadium, Manchester
In the final game of the Magic Weekend, which was played for the first time in Manchester, Wigan defeated St Helens in a game that saw three players – Wigan’s Gareth Hock and Chris Tuson, and St Helens’ Shaun Magennis – dismissed in the 53rd minute by referee Ben Thaler for their role in a massive brawl, with all three players being suspended by the RFL on the following Tuesday.

6. 2013 Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Hull FC defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 22-16 with the help of one of the most bizarre decisions seen at a Magic Weekend. With the scores tied at 16-all, Hull hooker Danny Houghton kicked the ball deep from his own half, and his team-mate Chris Green, who was clearly standing in front of him, raced downfield to touch down. Referee Ben Thaler asked video-referee Steve Ganson to check the score, and Ganson inexplicably awarded the try instead of giving Hull KR a penalty. The RFL apologised to Hull KR that evening, although Hull KR Chairman dismissed it as “empty and tokenistic”.

7. 2013 Etihad Stadium, Manchester
In the final game of that year’s Magic Weekend Wigan defeated Leeds 20-16, but Danny McGuire looked to have gained victory for Leeds with a try in the 73rd minute, only for video referee Ian Smith to disallow the try for an obstruction in the buildup. Earlier in the movement McGuire had run behind his team-mate Chris Clarkson, who had raised his arms and hadn’t interfered with play, so technically there was no obstruction. But it transpired that the RFL Laws Committee had instructed referees to always blow for a penalty when a player ran behind a team-mate, whether obstruction occurred or not.