NRL admit crucial error in Eels semi loss

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The NRL has conceded Parramatta should have been awarded a crucial penalty late in Saturday night's semi-final loss to Penrith, but insist that is all their officials got wrong.

In a 40-minute briefing on Monday dedicated solely to that game, the NRL's head of football Annesley led a defence of referee Ashley Klein and cleared four other controversial calls.

He also confirmed the integrity unit were investigating if Penrith were right to stop play when Mitch Kenny was injured late in the game, halting Parramatta's momentum.

A report into that incident will be prepared for NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, with a determination expected as soon as Tuesday.

But it will be the admission that Jarome Luai should have been penalised for pulling Mitch Moses back late in the 8-6 loss that will most frustrate the Eels.

It came as Blake Ferguson broke free down the right wing with 12 minutes to play, and attempted to kick back inside before play broke down.

"This should have warranted a penalty," Annesley said.

"They jostle and there is the last grab from Luai that takes Moses off balance.

"I don't think it warrants anything more than a penalty."

But Annesley insisted that was not on under-fire referee Ashley Klein or the bunker, and said it was a fault of the touch judge.

"For as long as I have been involved in the game back play is in the realm of the touch judge," Annesley said.

"The referee has to watch the ball carrier, and we had Ferguson make a break and kick back in side."

Annesley also wouldn't elaborate on whether Will Penisini had been taken out later in the same play, or if Penrith had knocked on in killing off the play.

But he did defend several other calls, including Will Kennedy's high shot on Liam Martin on halftime that let the Panthers take their two-point lead.

Likewise, he said Marata Niukore was rightly penalised for taking James Fisher-Harris off the ball, Ray Stone had knocked on out of dummy-half with 10 minutes to go and cleared a supposed strip in a Clint Gutherson tackle late.

"These things aren't always as clear cut as we would like them to be," Annesley said.

"By the same token we can't just automatically jump to the conclusion it was wrong."

Meanwhile Annesley said the NRL would review the protocols around trainers stopping play for injuries at the end of the season.

Annesley would not comment on the Penrith incident, but explained a trainer can assess seriously injured players from the sideline before asking play to be stopped.

"Whether we will need to do more is something we will do at the end of the season," Annesley said.

"It's one of the really difficult ones in our game.

"Because obviously player safety and player welfare has to be paramount importance.

"But we have to make sure our rules can't be used for tactical advantage."

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