The NRL’s head of football has admitted the Warriors scored a crucial try off a forward pass in their unlikely comeback win over the Raiders on Saturday.
The Warriors overcame a 31-10 deficit with just 30 minutes left to beat the Raiders 34-31 however there was plenty of controversy around the Kiwi club’s fourth try.
A pass from Kodi Nikorima to Ben Murdoch-Masila appeared forward in the lead up to the Tongan powerhouse’s try but despite protests from the Raiders and their fans, New Zealand referee Henry Perenara awarded the four points.
The moment sparked plenty of discussion both in the commentary box and at the post match press conferences but it wasn’t until this morning that Graham Annesley conceded it was a forward pass.
"We put up our hand on this one," Annesley said.
"Camera angles can be deceiving at times [and] there are some factors that probably exaggerated the look of it when it took place, but I'm not going to try and pretend that it wasn't forward.
"This decision has been reviewed by the refereeing department and by Jared Maxwell, and they believe that it's a forward pass.”
Annesley said the NRL is planning to trial new technology to avoid such errors but it wouldn’t be ready for testing until at least next year.
"We are making progress and we have been talking to a company for quite some time. I'm hopeful that we're not that far off a trial, a test of the technology," Annesley said.
"And then, if we get to that point and we can be convinced that the technology is accurate, it becomes a business case that we have to minute to the [ARL] Commission to justify the expenditure and the benefit that will flow ... if the Commission was to approve it.
"We can all have debates about forward passes, but until we can get technology that absolutely gives us the answer beyond any doubt, there will always be a question mark over them."
Despite popular belief among fans, Annesley also pointed out The Bunker can’t rule on forward passes.
Annesley added the NRL’s Integrity Unit are still reviewing whether Raiders coach Ricky Stuart breached rules with his short press conference after the match and his alleged abuse towards Perenara – an action he vehemently denies.