Annesley backs bunker on Kelly no-try, rebutts Hasler

Joel Gould |

Titans players celebrate Brian Kelly’s try that was later overturned by the Bunker.
Titans players celebrate Brian Kelly’s try that was later overturned by the Bunker.

Graham Annesley made a telling observation about the bunker’s ruling of no-try to Gold Coast centre Brian Kelly in the controversial 28-24 loss to Newcastle on Sunday.

“Des and I won’t agree on this, but that’s life,” Annesley, the NRL head of football said at his weekly football briefing.

Titans coach Des Hasler lashed the bunker as “crazy” when he insisted Kelly had scored a try that would have tied the match at Suncorp Stadium when he miraculously held off several Newcastle defenders and was ruled to have lost the ball in the grounding.

The on-field decision was a try, but referee Wyatt Raymond in the bunker ruled there was sufficient evidence to rule no-try.

“Try every day of the week. The bunker … it’s crazy,” Hasler said.

“His hand never came away from the ball. If it did it was a penalty for a strip.”

Annesley said he understood the emotion associated with the ruling but insisted that “this was not the case of a bunker howler”.

He said there was only one useful angle for the try, saying that vision showed the ball “sitting on (Kelly’s) upper arm”.

“At this stage he is trying to get it to the line. A Knights hand makes contact with the ball and whether you want to call it a strip or contact in the course of a tackle is open to debate,” he said.

“What isn’t open to debate is that once that hand hits the ball, from the position where the ball is sitting on the biceps, with the hand on top, in a couple of frames that ball drops very quickly.”

Annesley said the bunker had ruled the ball had escaped Kelly’s control at that point.

Titans players claim the try after Brian Kelly crossed the line.
Titans coach Des Hasler says Kelly’s effort was a ‘try every day of the week’; Annesley disagrees. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

The vision is open to interpretation over – one – whether Kelly maintained possession via his forearm, and – two – whether a Knight had dislodged the ball before Kelly grounded it.

Annesley agreed it was possible the ball was deliberately stripped or knocked out in the course of the tackle.

He said this was “not the case where it is a definitively wrong decision” and that there was a division of opinion throughout the game over the weekend on the ruling.

“This is not the reason the game was won or lost,” Annesley said.

“This is a difference of opinion depending on which point of view you have.

“It is the bunker taking the information they have available, examining that … and reaching a decision. That is what we want the bunker to do.”

Hasler rang Annesley, a former Titans CEO, straight after full-time about the ruling and AAP understands they have discussed it since.

“I understand where everyone who supports the Titans is coming from, as I do,” Annesley said.

“I have a lot of time for Des Hasler and he and I have a good relationship.”