June 24, 2024

The NRL has acknowledged that the Bunker made an error in stripping the Roosters of a crucial try during Thursday night’s match.

The Roosters were behind 0-12 against Penrith in the first half when Joey Manu managed to score a try, appearing to shift the momentum in favor of the home team. However, after a lengthy review, the video referee overturned the try, citing an obstruction by Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves against Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards.

According to the rules, a lead runner must not impede the defensive line, and Waerea-Hargreaves had moved well beyond the defensive line to avoid a penalty. However, Edwards collided with him while running across as a cover defender, leading the Bunker to rule it as obstruction.

NRL’s head of football Graham Annesley admitted that the decision was incorrect, stating, “In my opinion, the try would have been scored regardless, and the on-field decision should not have been overturned.”

The Roosters faced another unfavorable Bunker decision later in the game when Penrith was awarded a try to Sunia Turuva. Despite an illegal obstruction by Panthers lead runner Liam Martin and contact with Luke Keary, the Bunker chose not to overturn the try.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson, although surprisingly calm, questioned the inconsistency in the rulings, highlighting the different treatment of similar situations. He noted, “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.”

Sydney Roosters poor 2023 NRL stats, James Tedesco, Joey Manu and Victor  Radley below their best | CODE Sports

Roosters captain James Tedesco also expressed doubt that Edwards could have prevented Manu’s try, suggesting that the outcome would likely have been the same regardless.

Even Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, despite benefiting from both decisions, questioned the Bunker’s approach, stating, “I feel like every time we’ve done a black and white interpretation in rugby league, it’s been a failure.”


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