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The NRL grand final refereeing decisions were justified, the head of football says after the Roosters' triumph over the Raiders


October 07, 2019 03:03:03

Two decisions by referees in the second half of the Roosters' NRL grand final win attracted plenty of scrutiny, but the NRL is backing its officials for the calls they made.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley told Channel Nine after the game that he was satisfied with the referee's actions in Cooper Cronk's 50th-minute sin-binning and late confusion about an overturned "six again" call by referee Ben Cummins.

James Tedesco's match-winning try in the 72nd minute of the 14-8 win over Canberra came on the back of a play at the other end where Cummins clearly signaled a repeat set of six for the Raiders but overturned his call during the live game without Raiders players noticing, leading to a turnover.

Cummins' initial signal came after Raiders substitute Bailey Simonsson contested a bomb with Roosters full-back Tedesco. Slow-motion replays showed Simonsson's ball coming off Simersson's shoulder, which featured assistant referee Gerard Sutton and a touchdown judge in real time, prompting Cummins's change of heart.

"The head referee does call six more but then immediately gets a call from the assistant and one of the touch judges that he was off a Raiders player," Annesley told Channel Nine.

"He immediately corrects that call and calls last tackle, and called the last tackle four more times before the game broke down.

"It's very disappointing that the game has been mired in controversy since the initial 'six again' call, but ultimately I believe the decision to give six more tackles was correct."

Annesley suggested if the initial ruling had not been overturned and the Raiders had managed to try their own decisive score, he would have been answering similar questions from outraged Roosters fans.

Coaches steer clear of criticism

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was also uncharacteristically circumspect, commiserating with the referees "if they made a mistake".

"No one goes out there to make mistakes. They've got tough jobs," he said in a post-match press conference.

"If it 's the wrong call there' s no referee that would go out there and try to make a mistake.

"If it's wrong I hope it's not the highlight of this evening."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said there was no point in going back and relitigating every refereeing decision throughout a match.

He said the video referee's decision to send Cronk half-back to the bin for 10 minutes after he hit Josh Papalii before the Raiders prop had a chance to touch the ball while charging at the try line from five meters out with the half an hour left in the game, was arguably more impactful.

But the Roosters 'defense held firm with Cronk sidelined, while the Raiders could not stop the Roosters' 60-meter team effort to win the game.

"If we're going to make a decision, we can make lots of decisions, you can go through every decision," he said.

"Sitting here talking about those decisions … I think there is a ton of time you can talk about, but we missed the execution on an opportunity we had."

Tedesco's try saw the Roosters win their second straight grand final, becoming the first team since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992 and 1993 to win successive premierships in a unified competition.






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