Missed Knock-on Proves Costly for Dolphins
The NRL has confessed that a crucial knock-on by Hudson Young, a backrower for the Raiders, was overlooked during the match’s decisive moments, leading to the Raiders’ golden point victory.
As the scoreboard displayed a 30-30 tie with only minutes remaining extra time, Jamal Fogarty executed a right-foot step before passing the ball to Jack Wighton.
Controversial Play Leads to Match-Winning Field Goal
Wighton then made an inside offload to Young, who was confronted by Dolphins forward Ray Stone.
The ball touched Young’s hand before darting off Stone’s shoulder.
Despite the referee signalling six again, Fogarty scored the game-winning field goal only two tackles later, dealing a devastating blow to Wayne Bennett’s team.
NRL Head of Football Addresses the Error
During his weekly briefing, Graham Annesley, the NRL Head of Football, admitted that the referees made an incorrect call.
However, Annesley noted that while it would have been difficult for the referees to spot the error in real-time, they ultimately missed it.
- Young attempts to catch the ball
- Ball appears to be knocked down, and play continues
- Young’s fingers touch the ball, losing it into Ray Stone’s arm, propelling it toward the Raiders’ goal line
- The referee believed the Dolphins knocked the ball down but missed the Raiders’ initial fumble
- The knock-on call should have been against Young
Annesley also stated that nothing could be done to change the outcome, potentially depriving the Dolphins of their sixth win of the season.
Touch Judge’s Decision Leads to Incorrect Call
The touch judge, who clearly had the best view of the incident, made the call, believing it to be the correct decision.
However, it was later determined to be the wrong call. Annesley acknowledged the unfortunate nature of the situation and that such incidents occur in games.
Bunker Intervention Limited by Existing Policy
Reporters questioned why the Bunker was not permitted to intervene and ruled that the Raiders had knocked the ball on.
Annesley explained that under the current policy, the Bunker could only intervene for acts of foul play that qualify as reportable offences.
This policy also prohibits reviews during injury stoppages.
Possible Policy Changes and Trade-offs
Annesley conceded that the existing policy might be altered, but any amendments would only be made at the end of the season by the Australian Rugby League Commission.
He acknowledged the trade-offs between continuity of play and the use of technology, with some people believing the Bunker interferes too much in the game.
Referees, Like Players, Make Errors
Referees, like players, are bound to make mistakes in every game. Annesley expressed regret over the error occurring at a critical moment, affecting the game’s outcome.
But unfortunately, no one can reverse the decision and allow the game’s outcome to be determined solely by the players.