The 2013 NRL season was jam-packed with conspiracy, drugs and controversy which has tainted the onfield action.
The NRL season started with a bang with many high scores by the top performing teams.
The Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Melbourne Storm and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have been the top four teams to play in the 2013 finals.
The chasing pack has never looked close to challenging these teams and have instead been focused on the desperate struggle to reach the finals.
The Parramatta Eels and West Tigers unfortunately had a horrible season with major losses and injured players throughout the entire season.
The Roosters and Rabbitohs season have been nothing but spectacular, which has payed off as they are currently the two top teams this season.
The Minor Premiers the Roosters have been the highest penalised club in the NRL and even after this extra pressure they have still managed comfortable wins throughout the season.
The competition has been played under a black cloud with the Australian Sporting Anti Doping Authority (ASADA) investigating various clubs and players.
ASADA’s findings have resulted in the Raiders star winger Sandor Earl suspended for drug trafficking and facing a life time ban for the use of performance enhancing drugs.
The Sharks club has been in the media with rumours circling as to whether they will be charged, however at this time no charges have been laid.
There could be as many as 31 players charged with 15 of those being Sharks players.
The start of this year was labelled the blackest day in Australian sport yet now being September, there have been no official charges laid in the NRL.
Although games this season have been exciting and unpredictable, most of the controversy surrounded the decisions made by NRL referees.
The standard of refereeing this year has been a major improvement from previous years, however, there has still been many decisions which have raised questions.
The biggest controversy was the Video Referee giving a try to the Knights winger, which went against all laws of physics.
The Knights winger scored in the corner but having an arm over the sideline which should mean ‘no try’ however, the try was granted which left many people confused.
The 7th tackle try awarded to the Sharks in a sudden death final had fans outraged as to how this was missed.
This NRL season has been left a laughing stock and with the finals underway one can only hope this will only be the last of it.
Editor of Inside Sport Magizine Graem Sims said human error will always be an integral aspect to consider in any sporting contest.
“The scrutiny on decision-making is an important way for spectators and fans to feel involved in the sport, but also teaches us that we have to accept the umpires’ decisions,” Mr Sims said.
“The refs on the field had to be stood down at least for the perception that the NRL is doing something about the situation to prevent a repeat.”
The Cowboys have since faced another sudden death final and have again been booted out which has been labeled a conspiracy.
The Sharks scored what looked like a fantastic try in the corner but was overshadowed by the reason it was on the 7th tackle.
The Cowboy’s fans have been left outraged by officials who did not pick the mistake up.
Cowboys Captain Jonnathan Thurston stated his frustration at a post match interview which led to the conspiracy theories.
These allegations have since been denied by Thurston but Cowboys fans will forever feel the pain of another refereeing mistake possibly costing the Cowboys their first Grand Final win.
NRL pundit Daniel Brown said the past two years teams have put in the hard work and buying the key players to possibly have a place in the finals and yet they are just constantly denied.
“Last year it was just repeated penalties to Manly and this year it was a seven tackle try and penalties,” he said.
“It just hurts every time because we do all the hard work.
“Feels like we are always robbed, I am waiting for the refs to hopefully get their act together for next season, you never forget those controversial losses.”
The Sharks will be facing Manly in a sudden death final on Friday night, with the Knight and Storm going head to head on Saturday.
The winners of the semi-finals will play the Rabbitohs and Roosters respectively for a place in the Grand Final.