‘Unacceptable’ Warriors were denied late penalty: NRL

Jasper Bruce |

The NRL admits it made an error denying the Warriors a potentially game-winning penalty late in the second half of their 13-12 loss to Canterbury.

Head of football operations Graham Annesley says it is “unacceptable” the bunker did not register that Jaeman Salmon had made late contact on Te Maire Martin after the Warriors halfback passed the ball during an attacking raid.

Had on-field referee Chris Butler blown a penalty, the Warriors could have shot for goal and broken the 12-all deadlock with seven minutes to play at Accor Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Instead, bunker official Adam Gee chose not to recommend a penalty once he examined footage and determined the contact on Martin had not been high.

“The real question is should this have been penalised on the field, and the answer to that is clearly ‘Yes, it should have been’ – not because it was high, but because it was late,” Annesley said.

“The bunker did review the incident, but they didn’t give due regard to the issue of lateness.

“We think this is a miss by the match officials. 

“It’s unacceptable, but that’s what took place and I wanted to make it absolutely clear with how that came about, what they were focused on and what they actually missed.”

Once the game moved to extra time, five-eighth Matt Burton slotted a field goal that confirmed victory for the Bulldogs.

Salmon has since accepted a two-match ban from the match review committee, which charged the second-rower with grade-two dangerous contact.

He is likely to be sidelined longer than that, though, after breaking his jaw in the tackle on Martin.

“The match review committee did give due regard to the late nature of the contact and the fact that the ball had been passed,” Annesley said.

“They found no evidence of contact with the head or neck, so he was charged with dangerous contact because of the late nature of the tackle.”

Annesley also admitted referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski accidentally short-changed Cronulla a tackle as the side attacked Gold Coast’s line on Friday night.

During a set in the second half, the referee called fourth tackle while incorrectly raising his arm to signal it was the fifth.

Cronulla five-eighth Braydon Trindall then kicked the ball and turned over possession, with the Sharks eventually losing the game 20-16.

“The Sharks should’ve had one more play before they were required to kick or run on the fifth tackle,” Annesley said.

He said the incident came down to “a lapse in concentration”.

“I can’t explain it. The referee can’t explain it. He feels terrible about it, of course. But there can be no explanation for it, it’s just one of those things that happens involuntarily,” Annesley said. 

“It is an error, there’s no question about that, no one’s hiding from that. No one’s trying to excuse it or make excuses for it, but it’s important that everyone understands how it took place.”