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‘I don’t understand’: Webster reacts to controversial call in Warriors’ loss

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 May 2024, 12:15pm

‘I don’t understand’: Webster reacts to controversial call in Warriors’ loss

Alex Powell,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 May 2024, 12:15pm

Warriors coach Andrew Webster has given his verdict on the controversial refereeing decision — or lack thereof — that ultimately cost his side in Sunday’s 14-8 defeat to the Newcastle Knights. 

At the end of the first half, and with the Warriors trailing 8-6, winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was taken out in the air by opposite Greg Marzhew, and dropped the ball in the in-goal for what otherwise seemed a certain try. 

However, after a review by the Bunker, only a penalty was awarded, as opposed to a penalty try. 

According to the NRL’s official laws, as of 2020, a penalty is able to be awarded as follows: 

“The referee (or review officials) may award a penalty try if, in his opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team. A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts irrespective of where the offence occurred.” 

By that definition, it’s not out of the question that the actions of Marzhew towards Watene-Zelezniak meet the criterion. 

Had the penalty try been awarded, the Warriors would have taken a 10-8 lead, with a kick in front of the goalposts to potentially make it 12-8. 

Speaking post match, though, Webster was forthright in his assessment of the incident, and will wait on the official briefing from NRL referees boss Graham Annesley on Monday. 

“I don’t know the 100 per cent rule,” said Webster. “But if he’s going up for the ball to catch it, and then he gets taken out in the air and he’s coming down to put the ball down, he was going to score the try. 

“The only reason why he didn’t score is because he got tackled in the air. I don’t understand if that’s the exact rule, or if there’s a clause for that particular play, when you’re attacking and catch the ball in the air. 

“But it looked like he was going to dead-set score for all money. The only reason he didn’t was because he got tackled in the air. 

“I’ll leave them [the NRL] to explain that. We’ll find out if there’s a reason. 

“I don’t govern the rules. But at the end of the day, if a penalty try is for someone dead-set about to score, and they’re not allowed to through a penalty … when they were going to score, then that’s a penalty try.” 

While it would be unfair and potentially unrealistic to pin the entire result on that one call, defeat did the Warriors no favours, now 14th on the ladder and three points outside the top eight. 

However, the Warriors were their own worst enemy at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

The first half in particular was littered with errors, while the penalty count was 10-9 against the Warriors. 

For that reason, Webster says the penalty try decision wasn’t the sole reason for his side’s loss. 

“I don’t want anyone leaving today thinking that’s the reason why [the Warriors lost],” he continued. 

“We’re pretty honest with our assessment of ourselves, but I’m sure we’ll all get clarity this week on that ruling, and why it worked that way.” 

Defeat leaves the Warriors on a four-game winless run, with their last victory coming against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on April 6. 

This story was originally published on the Herald, here

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