Des Hasler claims Manly "dudded" in semi loss

Des Hasler has sensationally declared Manly were "dudded" in their semifinal loss to South Sydney, arguing they'd still be in the finals if Jake Trbojevic wasn't sin-binned.

The Sea Eagles let a 26-20 lead slip in the final 13 minutes of Friday's match to lose 34-26, after Trbojevic was binned for holding Dane Gagai back in a Rabbitohs break.

The call infuriated coach Des Hasler, who spoke with NRL's head of football Graham Annesley after the match to question the professional foul sin-bin.

"Was there issues about the game? Yep. I think there was," Hasler said.

"Do I think we were dudded? Yep, we've been dudded.

"It was a bit tough. Was it a penalty? I don't mind the penalty. I can handle a penalty. Does he deserve to get sent off? No.

"It makes the loss a little more difficult, but we could have managed it all better."

Manly legend Paul Vautin labelled the decision "bonkers" in commentary, while infuriated captain Daly Cherry-Evans on the field questioned referee Gerard Sutton on how it was a "clear" professional foul.

Hasler also queried the game's 9-3 penalty count against his side, but had no issue with a centre Brad Parker also being sin-binned in the second half for a blatant trip on James Roberts.

But asked if he thought Manly would have won the game if Trbojevic hadn't been binned, Hasler said: "Of course we do, you know that.

"You don't have to ask me that.

"It's a bit of a lottery, isn't it. Ask the coaches who remain.

"But then again we were in a position a couple of times to win that game."

Annesley defended the decision on Friday night, noting officials had been dropped last week for not sin-binning Canberra's Elliott Whitehead for a professional foul.

"It was a professional foul in a try-scoring situation," Annesley said.

"Last week I publicly criticised a referee for not using the sin-bin in similar circumstances.

"If Jake doesn't grab the support player, the consequences don't occur."

Souths coach Wayne Bennett also backed the on-field decision, as he claimed the precedent had been laid down all season.

"As teams and as players, you know it's on the cards these days, the sin bin's been used a lot more this year than any other year," Bennett said.

"I'm not opposed to it. You roll the dice. You don't touch the player, you don't run the interference the way you did, then you've got nothing to worry about.

"If you do, then you've got yourself no problem."

Bennett also said he had no issue with Cody Walker being sin-binned for a slap in a first-half melee, as part of a rule introduced into the NRL two seasons ago.