NRL head of football Graham Annesley has admitted the forward pass call that cost Manly a match-winning try against Parramatta was incorrectly ruled but says a second pocket referee would not have had any impact on the decision.
The Sea Eagles were denied a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Eels on Saturday when Tom Trbojevic's last pass to Reuben Garrick was called forward in the 80th minute.
Annesley issued a statement shortly after full-time to confirm the call from touch judge Liam Kennedy was wrong, but refuted suggestions the decision would have been different under the old two-referee system.
"The forward pass call was incorrect," Annesely said.
"But it was called by the touch judge just as it would have been last year. A second referee would have had no impact on that decision."
Manly's final play raid called back for forward pass
The NRL's move to one whistleblower from round 3 has seen officials who previously filled pocket referee roles shift to touch judge duties at times since the competition has resumed.
Kennedy was in-line with Trbojevic at the time that he released his pass around Parramatta's 20-metre line, with the ball floating forward as Eels defenders drove the Manly fullback backwards.
Kennedy made an instant call to lead referee Ben Cummins to deny Manly's match-winning play.
Hasler to consult NRL over perceived six-again inconsistencies
When he was informed of Annesley concession that his Sea Eagles had copped a a wrong call that cost them two competition points, coach Des Hasler said: "it just confirms the night we've had".
Hasler said he will seek clarification from referees boss Bernard Sutton over six-again rulings over what he claimed were "inconsistencies" during Manly's 19-16 loss.
"We didn't get much rub of the green tonight," Hasler said.
"That goes with referee calls on the sideline as well now.
"The other thing I saw for the first time was a real inconsistency in the six-again call for the first time. So I'll be talking to Bernard Sutton about that.
"I think as far as the tempo is concerned, I'm still encouraged by what I'm seeing. But at the same time we don't want to make it too uncompetitive.
"I think nearly every game that's been played up until this point in time [the margin] has been 12 or 14 points or greater. We don't want to see too many blow-out scores."
Hasler said while the final call was tough to cop, Manly had put themselves in that position by falling to a 18-2 deficit almost as soon as the second half started.
He took heart from the Sea Eagles' fightback as they now enter next Thursday's clash with Brisbane with a 2-2 record.
Match Highlights: Eels v Sea Eagles
"To be truthful we probably shouldn't have been in that position," he said.
"The first half we were guilty, there's certain things you can't do with these rule changes, errors coming out of your own end.
"I thought our end of set options could have been better. They won't be happy about those. We could've built a bit more pressure and found a bit more field position.
"But I was very impressed with how this team fought, they never gave up. To come from 18-2 down and win the game [had Trbojevic's call been correctly ruled], we won the game. The one that we should have got."
Hasler reacts after Annesley admits Trbojevic pass error