Four days later and New Zealand Warriors fans are still fuming over a Reece Walsh pass that clearly went forward in their NRL preliminary final against the Brisbane Broncos.

Walsh was a key factor in dismantling the Warriors as the Broncos pumped their visitors 42-12 at Suncorp Stadium to set up this weekend’s explosive clash with the Panthers in the grand final.

The Warriors had become the fairytale story of the 2023 season, as fans from all clubs cheered them on towards the ambitious vision of an NRL grand final – that was always going to be between Penrith and Brisbane.

While the Kiwi club’s momentum was refreshing for the typically bottom eight side, it seems that perhaps New Zealand was leaning a bit too hard on their rugby league franchise, in an effort to fill the dark vacuum that has emerged in the wake of an out-of-form All Blacks side taking Ls in the French World Cup.

However, even though the writing has always been on the wall, Warriors fans still feel like they were hard done by after a blatant forward pass cost them a try at 24-12.

This ignores the fact that Walsh had already broke the line to skip past the Warriors defenders before the forward pass, which lead to the Broncos notching up one of three unanswered tries to tie it up.

However, on social media and talkback radio stations right across Australia and New Zealand, the famous Kiwi sore loser attitude can be seen and heard nearly a week later.

The current narrative is that the Broncos intentionally cheated in an effort to knock the Warriors out of the finals – with some even comparing this forward pass to the famous ‘underarm incident’

This is in reference to a sporting controversy that took place on 1981, when Australia played New Zealand in a One Day International cricket match, to decide the World Series Cup, at the MCG

With one ball of the final over remaining in the match, New Zealand required a six to tie the match. Australian captain Greg Chappell then instructed his bowler (and younger brother) Trevor Chappell to deliver the last ball to batsman Brian McKechnie underarm along the ground. Trevor Chappell did so, forcing McKechnie to play the ball defensively, meaning Australia won in the lowest way possible.

As unpleasant as this moment is to look back on for the regrettable Australians, unfortunately the underarm incident has been engrained into the New Zealand psyche – and is now their go-to argument when complaining about losing fair and square.


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