Tigers fuming over fatal Richards penalty

Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter hadn't yet asked his winger, Pat Richards, what happened in the lead-up to the 76th-minute penalty that gave Brisbane's Ben Hunt his game-winning shot at goal, when he arrived for the post-match press conference.

"I haven't [spoken to him], no. I'd like to go to another room to speak about the penalty," he said.

With the game locked at 14-all and four minutes left on the clock, referee Gavin Badger penalised Richards for tackling Brisbane winger Lachlan Maranta without the ball, controversially handing Hunt the opportunity to win the game.

And while Potter admitted that his team had ample opportunity to win the match, he remained flummoxed as to how Badger came up with the critical decision.

Watch the NRL LIVE with a 2-week free trial.
Get the NRL Digital Pass now!

"Destiny was in our own hands earlier in the game but we were poor in some areas and they were fortunate to get a penalty that I was struggling to find a penalty for at the back end of the game," he said.

"It's great for them to win on that but disappointing for us."

Stand-in skipper Braith Anasta said he didn't even know what the penalty was for until Hunt was lining up the kick.

"I wasn't sure why there was a penalty when it first happened. I thought someone must've completely held someone back on the chase back but on the replay I was surprised by it," he said.

A diplomatic Richards said while he was disappointed in the decision, the call could've gone either way.

"It happened so fast. It was one of those things that could've gone either way and I obviously didn't intentionally go over to tackle him without the ball. It just happened so quick. I thought he was there and the ball was in front of him, I had no other option," he said.

"[Badger] said basically I had to run around the bloke. He was a metre from the line. How was I supposed to run around the bloke to tackle him there? It happened so fast. What do you do? That's footy."

It was a tough out for the Tigers, who wasted a gun performance from halfback Luke Brooks. The 19-year-old scored one solo try and laid on another in another mature performance that show why many consider him a future NSW Origin star.

But when the game was in the balance in the final 10 minutes, Brooks was forced off the field for a concussion test that stunted the Tigers' attack. He returned with just minutes left to play but was unable to come up with the winning play.

"It was a little bit of a factor, but I was really happy with Brooksy, they way he played, the way he kicked the balland the way he took the line on," Potter said.

"He's improving. I'm really pleased for him. It's disappointing for the team right at the moment. But he's probably the shining light there at the moment for us, on that performance. He's still got a little bit of work to do on some other areasbut I'm happy with him."

However both Anasta and Potter expressed concerned that the NRL's concussion laws would mean players were coming off the field unnecessarily.

"You want your players to stay out there but the physio was pretty insistent he come off," Potter said.

"He took a head knock. I think it was relatively plain. He copped a knee to the head. He didn't want to come off, and with the rules and regulations now, you've just got to do what the NRL want you to do and that's what we done."

Added Anasta: "I think you're going to see it more often because you're going to see the medical staff taking a safer option and regardless pulling the player off even if he may not have to come off because they're worried about the fine and worried about the repercussions.

"It might even keep coming where players will come off at critical times and they may not need to but it's just what you got to do now."