NRL's stunning admission as Dylan Edwards detail comes to light in Bunker ruling

The NRL has weighed-in on the controversial ruling involving the Panthers fullback.

The NRL has confirmed the Bunker got the obstruction call wrong against the Roosters on Thursday night as a fresh detail has emerged showing Dylan Edwards slightly deviating from his path to avoid referee Adam Gee. Despite missing Nathan Cleary, the Panthers were way too strong for an error-prone Roosters side having won 22-16.

However, the game was marred after a baffling obstruction call against Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in the first-half that had fans fuming over the state of the game. And NRL head of football Graham Annesley has already confirmed the decision was not correct.

Dylan Edwards reacts and Edwards runs into a Roosters player.
Dylan Edwards (pictured left) deviated slightly to move out of the way of referee Adam Gee, before colliding with Jared waerea-Hargreaves in a brutal moment for the Roosters after the obstruction call. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Speaking to NewsCorp on Friday, Annesley claimed the Bunker should have used discretion on whether Edwards would have impacted play since the Roosters did not take advantage of the gap made by Waerea-Hargreaves. Annesley claimed the try should not have been overturned. The contorverisal moment occurred in the 22nd minute of the game.

Waerea-Hargreaves charged through the line on a decoy run and continued his line for 20 metres. Joey Manu received the ball 20 metres away and managed to evade two tackles and crash over the line for a Roosters try. However, the Bunker became involved as they wanted to see if Waerea-Hargreaves interfered with play.

Behind play, Waerea-Hargreaves ran through to the try line to avoid play. Panthers fullback Edwards was also seen rushing across. While Edwards was never going to be able to reach Manu, he collides with the Roosters enforcer.

“He is required to stop prior to interfering with any defenders, at this point he stops Dylan Edwards from being able to slide and assist in defending this play, which is an obstruction,” Bunker referee Chris Butler decided. The decision left commentator Andrew Voss perplexed.

"Rubbish, rubbish. How far through the line do they want him to run? How far does he have to run. Come on," Voss said on Fox Sports commentary. Unfortunately for the Roosters, a replay of the footage shows Edwards slightly deviated out of Gee's way when following play to collide with Waerea-Hargreaves. This detail could have been critical in deciding whether Edwards was impeded as Waerea-Hargreaves held his line and wasn't going to initially collide with the fullback.

James Tedesco speaks with referee Adam Gee.
James Tedesco (pictured) was left shocked after the Roosters were stripped of a try due to an obstruction call.

Roosters fans became more incensed after the Panthers were awarded a try when scored, even though Liam Martin ran through as the lead runner and impacted Sitili Tupouniua and Luke Keary as they rushed across in defence. Many fans felt Edwards did not do enough to avoid Waerea-Hargreaves, while others felt he was so far away from play that the obstruction rule was encouraging defenders to find runners and collide with them to get the penalty.

Roosters fume over Dylan Edwards obstruction call

After the match, captain James Tedesco questioned how it could have been called obstruction when the incident happened so far away from the ball. “You look up and a player gets taken out 20 metres away from the ball,” Tedesco said in surprise of the decision.

“If I’m in that position as a fullback, it’s pretty hard to get there and I’m not sure I’d make a difference.” Coach Trent Robinson was again left frustrated and also alluded to Edwards changing his line to collide with Warea-Hargreaves.

“I feel like there were two different rulings in that case," Robinson said. “I don’t want to blow it out of proportion too much, but sometimes they’re black and white with their decision, and then sometimes they’ve got the decision-making component and it varies on when they apply it. That’s probably what happened.

“They were black and white with the obstruction because Edwards changes his line as well, and so they were black and white with the call. But on the one where there was an obstruction, they leave it to interpretation. I don’t think we get it that wrong, to be honest. There are highlights because we scrutinise them well. It didn’t fall in our favour tonight, and it might at some point.”