The row over referee Phil Bentham’s decision not to award Danny Brough’s match-winning 78th-minute drop goal in Sunday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup fourth-round tie against St Helens continues to rumble on.

The general consensus throughout the game was that Brough nailed his fourth drop-goal attempt, which would have given the Giants a 17-16 victory.

Instead, Bentham ruled the kick had gone wide, and Saints snatched the victory moments later when Luke Walsh’s effort sailed through the posts to make it 17-16 to the visitors to take them through.

 

Bentham has since confirmed the Giants would still have lost the tie had he referred Brough’s effort to video referee Ian Smith instead of turning it down himself.

The official has claimed that with the video replays proving inconclusive, Smith told him he would have referred the incident back to Bentham for the final say.

That would have been no drop goal.

That view is expected to continue to leave a nasty taste in the mouth of the Giants, who have issued a club statement through managing director Richard Thewlis to give their full thoughts on the matter.

“In the cold light of day the hugely disappointing fact is that we are out of the prestigious Challenge Cup that meant so much to us all at the club,” the statement began.

“Both our head coach and captain displayed immense restraint and were very professional in dealing with a situation that even now I am sure they, like our supporters, are still are bemused with. Both are an absolute credit to the club and game and with that calibre of person within the Giants I am confident that our future looks very healthy indeed.

“How and why it happened is for others to consider and it’s been very pleasing as a club to receive so many messages of support throughout the game.

“Certainly our social media channels went red hot after the game and we are being hammered by our supporters for answers to some key issues and such is the weight of passion behind this Cup tie that I imagine the RFL will give some public comment as to how the game unfolded and the defining incident towards the end.

“What I can say though is how proud I was firstly in the team’s performance and secondly in the press reactions of both Paul Anderson and Danny Brough in the immediate aftermath of the final whistle. Let’s all be clear how high emotions were running and things could have been said in the heat of the moment that may have caused problems further down the line.

“We now turn all our focus to our next Super League game at Hull FC where we again face adversity in respect of the two clubs relative preparation periods showing a huge disparity and we wrote at the time to the RFL expressing our views there.

"Ultimately though the facts remain - as they do from Sunday too - and we battle on united as a club and with the backing of our wonderful supporters who, as always, were magnificent.”

At the same time Bentham is standing by his decision and know he has the support of many of his colleagues at Red Hall.

Referee Phil Bentham
Referee Phil Bentham
 

“Danny was 100 per cent it went over. That was his quote. I was of the opposite view,” said Bentham.

“If I’d come in (to work yesterday) and the whole (referees) group decided it was a goal there would have been a lot of regret, but that’s not the case.

“They’re close calls and someone has to make them. It’s either me or the video referee, but I was happy with my decision.”

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