NRL: Officiating blunders continue as Eels score off two forward passes

Clinton Gutherson of the Eels (R) scored a try after two forward passes were not picked up by officials. Photo / Getty
Clinton Gutherson of the Eels (R) scored a try after two forward passes were not picked up by officials. Photo / Getty

With the Parramatta Eels trailing the Canterbury Bulldogs 6-12 just a minute before half-time on Friday night, winger Clint Gutherson created a piece of individual brilliance to touch down for his side's second try.

A series of quick hands on the halfway line put Gutherson into space down the short side, where he gassed a defender before stepping around Will Hopoate at fullback to score in the corner.

The only problem? The initial play came from two clearly forward passes.

Described as a "bit iffy" by Channel Nine commentators in real time, Ray Warren immediately called the passes forward upon watching the replay, claiming the touch judge was too far in front of the play to see the path of the ball correctly.

"(The dummy half pass) is forward out of the hands, then there is a bat-on that goes forward, and the touch judge, he was probably forward of the forwards," Ray Warren said.


Peter Stirling agreed there was a clear rule breach.

"Well that looks a bit forward from dummy half, then Kenny Edwards, onto Takairangi, who bats it forward, good hands from Gutherson," he said.

The try was awarded on the spot with no hint of a reference to the video review.

Under the rules of the new NRL review system, the video officials cannot rule on a forward pass - it is left to the decision of on-field referees. But it begs the question, if the NRL are willing to invest so much into creating a state-of-the-art review system in the Bunker, why not use it to rule on all aspects of the game? The technology is certainly more than capable of it.

Fans on Twitter were less than impressed with the decision.








Some fans alluded to the review mix up the last time the two sides met in March, when a pass from Bulldogs' Sam Kasiano to Sam Perrett was ruled forward, overturning a try given by referee Matt Cecchin.



With two referees, touch judges and one of the best review systems in professional sport, the NRL needs to start getting these simple decisions right.

The decision proved a costly momentum swing in favour of Parramatta, who came from behind to win 20-12 at ANZ stadium.

With star playmaker and skipper Kieran Foran having left the country for an overseas rehabilitation clinic just hours earlier, makeshift halves Corey Norman and Brad Takairangi starred in front of a 31,815-strong crowd.

The Eels had all the excuses in the world not to turn up with Foran's absence, the salary cap scandal hanging over their heads and playing the entire second half with just two men on the bench. With skipper Tim Mannah succumbing to a recurrence of a left shoulder problem which has kept him out for the last month and after losing fullback Michael Gordon to a quad injury at half-time, the Eels gritted their teeth to hold on for a memorable and morale-boosting win.

Takairangi, after being shifted from the centres to five-eighth to cover Foran's loss, was the surprise star, running onto a Beau Scott offload to level the scores in the 17th.

All eyes were on Norman to run the show for the Eels and he produced the decisive play when he spun through the line to give his side the lead for the first time in the 49th minute, while his kicking game was superb all night.

The Eels looked like they might run out of legs with Mannah and Gordon off but when Takairangi's clever chip found Vai Toutai in the right corner, the Eels went eight points in front and held on.

- news.com.au

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