Wayne Bennett has lashed out at the NRL after Graham Annesley admitted the Dolphins were dudded in their golden point loss to Canberra on Saturday. Jamal Fogarty kicked a field goal in extra-time to give the Raiders a 31-30 victory, but the NRL revealed on Monday that the Dolphins shouldn't have had the ball.
Referee Peter Gough missed a knock-on from Hudson Young in the lead-up and wrongly awarded the Raiders an extra set of six. That allowed the Raiders to set up in front of the Dolphins' posts and kick the winning field goal.
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Speaking on Monday in his weekly review, the NRL's head of football Annesley said referee Gough was obscured in his view of the knock-on from Young, and thought Dolphins player Ray Stone had knocked it forward. But Annesley said the sideline officials should have pulled the play up.
"I can understand how difficult this would have been in live to play for the officials to pick up. But the fact is, they did miss it," Annesley said.
"As Hudson Young goes to take the ball, his fingers touch the ball, and then it comes off the upper arm of Stone. I wish we could change that decision so the outcome is determined entirely by the players. It's disappointing for us when there is a decision made by an official that brings into question the outcome of the game."
The admission has come as cold comfort for Bennett, who lashed out upon hearing of Annesley's comments. “I think anyone who knows rugby league knew he knocked that ball on,” Bennett told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“That’s why the players reacted straight away on the field. [Canberra coach] Ricky [Stuart] has been the victim of those. But with all the vision we have around the game now, it still defies belief the touch judge, the referee or the bunker doesn’t pick that up.
“You’re 30-all, you’re in overtime - it’s crucial. The games are so toughly fought, it’s disappointing stuff. We saw it from the coach’s box it was a knock-on. The video ref could have quickly told him.
“The hollow part about all this is it’s zero consolation today. That’s the part that pisses me off more than anything else, it’s the fact I have to suck it up and live with it.”
There were a few blatant knock on ignored, the Warriors had a shocker, where the ref actually stopped looked at the big screen, saw the obvious knock on, then went with his original no knock on call, utterly pathetic.
— NZ Sports Fluffer 🏉🏏🏀⚽⚾ (@sportsfluffer) May 1, 2023
At least a bad 6 again call didn’t cost him a Grand Final or anything 🤦♂️
— Reply guy (@TheSpeculat0r) May 1, 2023
This is happening a little too often
Especially at moments where points are being scored from these decisions
— Chris Sutherland (@Mirishikiari_26) May 1, 2023
Got 6 camera angles and bunker are just 🧑🦯 🕶️ just have a quick look. Went back 3 plays last night for a missed call
— Shmaxta (@shmaxta) April 29, 2023
Graham Annesley says Bunker had no scope to review knock-on
Play was stopped two tackles later for a concussion check on Stone, but Annesley revealed there was no scope in NRL rules for the Bunker to go back and review the missed knock-on. Video officials are only able to review action after the play-the-ball on point-scoring plays, unless it is a reportable act of foul play.
Asked whether there should be more ability for the bunker to check decisions in golden point, Annesley said that could not be considered until season's end. "If you're trying to get decisions right, there has to be a line in the sand about how far you can go back," he said.
"Policy can change, but our policy wouldn't normally be reviewed until the end of the season. They are matters the commission would have to consider. There is a trade-off in these things, there would be a trade-off in the continuity of play."
The NRL also spent Monday reviewing an interchange bungle which saw the Rabbitohs play with 14 men for about 30 seconds against the Broncos. The NRL has reportedly decided that Souths will be fined, rather than have the two competition points deducted.
"I don't think there ever can be a blanket rule for anything in a game like ours," Annesley said when asked if it should be an automatic loss of two points. "There are so many circumstances, so many degrees of seriousness.
"There was a report on the weekend (about a Canterbury breach in 2009) that resulted directly in the outcome of the game with a player that shouldn't have been on the field. That's very different to another scenario where a player might not have any impact by being on the field for a short period of time."
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