NRL referees coaches Stuart Raper and Bill Harrigan have today made it clear that match officials will be accountable for performances, standing down referee Jared Maxwell and touch judge Jason Walsh from Round 2 Telstra Premiership matches.
In their weekly review of key decisions on NRL.com, the referees coaches declared the match officials incorrectly penalised the Sharks for off-side following a charge-down in golden-point.
“We are not going to drop every referee who makes a mistake but this is a mistake that clearly should not have been made and the circumstances of this decision warrant the action we have taken,” Harrigan said.
“The rule on a charge-down is that all players are deemed to be back on-side by the act of a charge-down. In this case, the referee got a call from his touch judge that the Sharks players were in front of the kicker and then became involved in the play. The referee then penalised them for this infringement.
“That decision was incorrect. The players were no longer offside due to the act of the charge-down. The touch judge and the referee got that decision wrong.
“The ruling should have been a knock-on against Wests Tigers’ Benji Marshall and a scrum feed to Cronulla.
“We have looked at the eagle-cam today and it proved that the Wests Tigers players were on-side in their attempt to charge the ball down, so there was no problem there. But the simple fact is that the Sharks players were put back on-side due to the charge-down and should not have been penalised.”
Harrigan was equally adamant that the match officials were correct in penalising the Sharks’ Colin Best for a double-movement earlier in the match.
“There is no doubt that the match officials made the correct call when they ruled no try for a double-movement involving Colin Best, that call was 100 per cent correct,” Harrigan said.
“Colin Best’s arm carrying the ball hits the ground, his momentum stops and then there is a second effort to get the ball over the line. At no stage does the tackler drop off him, so the tackle was correctly deemed complete.
“There is no grey area with this ruling, it is a clear double-movement.”
Harrigan said it was also important to make clear that at the end of the game or at any time during the game, there was no conversation or contact between Sharks officials and the match officials.