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Annesley concedes Hynes wrongly denied quick-tap try

It mattered little to the result, but Storm fullback Nicho Hynes should have been awarded a try from a quick penalty tap in Friday's 40-14 win over the Sharks.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley said on Monday that referee Gerard Sutton erred by calling Hynes back after he caught Cronulla napping.

Having been awarded a penalty following a high shot from Shaun Johnson in the 52nd minute, Hynes took a quick tap and dashed 20 metres untouched to the try line.

Sutton called play on but then blew his whistle before Hynes touched down, saying the Melbourne custodian didn't tap the ball where the illegal contact had occurred.

While the Storm scored moments later anyway to extend their lead to 16-10, Annesley said Hynes was on the mark and within his rights to tap the ball and run.

Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 8

"These things always look messy when they happen - you've got defending players that aren't looking at the play and have their backs turned," Annesley said at his weekly media briefing.

"It looks odd when a player takes a quick tap and is able to go straight through the defence, particularly in this case when they ultimately score a [disallowed] try.

"But that's more down to lapses by the defence than it is by any prevention in the rules from it happening."

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Annesley added that according to the rulebook, there are only certain circumstances in which a quick tap restart following a penalty is not allowed:

  •  After a 10-metre penalty;
  • When a penalty is awarded within 10 metres of the opposition goal line; 
  • Penalties resulting from kicks in general play; 
  • Where the referee is required to take further action (a caution, sin bin or send-off); 
  • Where the referee advances the mark after dissent; 
  • When the player tapping the ball has teammates in front of him.

"All things considered, you go through that checklist, he should have been allowed to take that quick restart and score a try," Annesley said.

"That was an error by the referee, and I think he realises that. These things happen in a split-second and it was a misjudgment by him."

All told, round eight was relatively controversy-free and Annesley only highlighted a few incidents that raised discussion over the weekend.

One of those came in the first half of the Wests Tigers' victory against the Dragons on Sunday when James Tamou pushed teammate Alex Twal forward as he tried to drive back the defence and score.

Twal didn't reach the goal line, but if he did Annesley said a try shouldn't have been awarded because Tamou impeded St George Illawarra's Paul Vaughan by gripping his jersey.

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While the Dragons were entitled to a penalty – which they didn't receive – Tamou's move would have been legal if he'd only touched Twal.

"It's perfectly allowable under the laws to lend weight to one of your own players, but what he [Tamou] does is he also interferes with the defender," Annesley said.

"He's obviously trying to push his own player across the line, but he's interfering with a defender in the process."

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Annesley also explained the circumstances around Sharks captain Wade Graham being sent for an HIA in the clash with the Storm.

Graham went off for the assessment with just over 10 minutes remaining at AAMI Park after copping an accidental knee to the head from Jahrome Hughes.

There had been some confusion about the knock that forced Graham to the sideline because he suffered a blow in the 55th minute when Tui Kamikamica bounced him away on a kick-off return.

But Annesley said the Sharks doctor reviewed that incident and was happy for Graham to continue playing, only deciding to assess him after he was kneed by Hughes.

 

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