The NRL has admitted Kieran Foran’s controversial obstruction try in Manly’s win over the Cowboys should not have been awarded.
Paul Green, you can keep your clothes on. The NRL says North Queensland were dudded. Again.
The Cowboys coach threatened, or promised, to “walk nude through Pitt St” after a controversial obstruction call went against his side in their round seven loss to Manly in Gosford on Friday night.
But Green won’t have to, after NRL head of football Todd Greenberg confirmed on Tuesday, Kieran Foran’s 72nd minute four-pointer awarded by video referees Paul Mellor and Bernard Sutton shouldn’t have been.
In an NRL media release, Greenberg said “the video referee had erred in allowing a try by Manly’s Kieran Foran after an obstruction”.
However, Greenberg maintained he was happy with a no try call that went against Melbourne winger Sisa Waqa in the Storm’s loss to Melbourne on Sunday.
A spokesman for the game’s governing body confirmed it was also comfortable with the no try decision against Will Hopoate in Parramatta’s loss to Wests Tigers on Monday.
“The obstruction rule remains the same as it has for the last 12 months,” Greenberg said.
“If the referee believes a defending player is impeded from making a tackle and/or the defensive line is disadvantaged then a penalty should be awarded.
“Naturally, when referees use their discretion there will be debate from time to time.
“But the coaches and players know this is the rule and it will continue to be applied this way by the referees.”
As Foran dummied his way over eight minutes from time, Cowboys defender Ray Thompson looked to have been prevented from making a goal line tackle by decoy runner Jamie Buhrer.
“If that’s not an obstruction I’ll walk nude through Pitt Street,” Green said in the post-match press conference.
“Someone needs to explain to me whether they’ve changed the obstruction rule because I’m absolutely bewildered how they got it wrong.”
The decision continued a trend of troubling rulings against the Cowboys, including Cronulla’s seven tackle try in last year’s final series and Manly’s ‘Hand of Foran’ try in the playoffs the year before.
To his credit Green didn’t solely blame the baffling decision from video referees Bernard Sutton and Paul Mellor (who has been dumped from video refereeing duties for round eight) for the Cowboys loss, saying his side didn’t take their opportunities to put the game to bed.
He was more circumspect on hearing the NRL’s admission of error.
“It certainly doesn’t get the two points back,” Green said.
“It’s not a good situation but we have to move on.”
Waqa’s try would have sealed an away win for the Storm before a late Paul Vaughan try secured Canberra’s first home win in seven starts.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was miffed by the ruling which claimed Waqa grounded the ball short of the line.
“This was a really tough call to make but the match officials got it exactly right,” Greenberg said.
“The games are so close and so exciting at the moment that every call is being closely scrutinised.
“What we are finding is that some match officials who are being criticised for their calls are actually getting them right.”
Those right calls included the no try to Hopoate, and a Dogs four-pointer to Corey Thompson in Canterbury’s dramatic one point win.
Continued confusion over the obstruction rule overshadowed a record breaking Easter weekend of crowds for the NRL.