NEWCASTLE coach Ernie Merrick has disputed a costly penalty ruling in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Melbourne City and queried why it was not reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee.
The A-League has introduced video technology this season to help with critical decisions, but it was not used after Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard collided with City attacker Ross McCormack.
Referee Shaun Evans immediately pointed to the spot and McCormack kicked an equalising goal.
“I have to say I was really disappointed that the VAR didn’t review the penalty,” Merrick said at the post-match media conference.
“I thought that was the whole point of it. We didn’t think it was a penalty.
“It’s hard to say anything, but I thought that’s what the VAR is there for.”
Merrick said he was a “big fan” of the VAR system.
“But if it’s there, use it, for goodness sake … I would have thought that would have been ideal to review, but it wasn’t,” he said.
He said Boogaard was adamant referee Evans erred in awarding the penalty.
“Nigel maintains he never pushed him in any way, shape or form,” Merrick said.
“His chest collided with the back, but that was just that they were both running for the ball.
“I get disappointed when we bring in such a good piece of technology and it’s not used in a situation like that.
Nigel maintains he never pushed him in any way, shape or form.Ernie Merrick
“I don’t know why.”
In the 74th minute, the VAR was used after City substitute Bruce Kamau went down in the penalty area under close attention from Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
The referee's call to play on was retained.
"They did review that second one, which looked more like a penalty to me actually, but they reviewed that and cleared that," Merrick said.
City coach Warren Joyce was convinced the Kamau review should have been overturned.
"I thought it was a stonewall penalty, even at the time and then you watch it again on the big screen," Joyce said.
Englishman Joyce said he was not a fan of the VAR, in particular the use of public screens.
"I think referees are human beings and they'll make mistakes, but you just have to get on with it," he said.
"You get some things go for you and some things against you.
"I think that's football, but I think it makes it even more difficult for referees when they see it on the big screen there and there's still pressure to make those decisions."
Replays of the Kamau-Topor-Stanley incident were inconclusive because the only camera angle was from a side-on viewpoint.
"I think you see things in rugby league and they have it from every angle possible to decide whether it's a try or not and invariably they get all the decisions right," Joyce said.