Referee's boss Tony Archer has admitted match officials erred by not awarding penalties to the Warriors after two controversial incidents during golden point time in Saturday's 20-16 NRL win over Penrith.
After losing three times in golden point in their previous four outings the Warriors finally managed to break their extra-time hoodoo when halfback Shaun Johnson scorched over for a try in the 89th minute of match at Mt Smart Stadium.
But Archer conceded referee Grant Atkins should have awarded penalties to the Warriors earlier in extra time, after the Herald revealed video footage that showed Penrith committed offences that twice sabotaged chances of the home side slotting a match-winning one-pointer.
Archer agreed the Warriors should have received a penalty in front of the posts four minutes into the first period of golden point, after three Penrith defenders - Trent Merrin, Leilani Latu and Matt Moylan - failed to get square at marker after tackling Warriors front-rower Albert Vete.
The Warriors were set to attempt a shot at field goal on the next play with Johnson and halves partner Thomas Leuluai both set behind the ruck, but Latu and Moylan, together with the assistance of Tyrone Peachey, managed to trap Warriors hooker Issac Luke at dummyhalf in possession on the last tackle.
"The markers are split and this should have been penalised by the referee on the field," Archer told the Herald.
Five minutes later, with time running down in the second period of golden point, the Warriors again attempted to set for a field goal when Leuluai was tackled by a slowly retreating Latu, who was five metres offside.
From the ensuing ruck, Panthers hooker Peter Wallace - who is also offside and a metre in front of Atkins, who is positioned just a few metres to his right - sprints up to successfully charge-down Johnson's attempt at a dropped goal.
Archer again agreed Latu's involvement from an offside position warranted a penalty but was satisfied with Wallace's effort to get back the 10 before slipping and starting his run after the play the ball was completed.
"The Penrith player (Latu) is offside but retreats before making the tackle," he said.
"After reviewing the incident he does not retire the 10 metres when he becomes involved as a tackler.
"Wallace gets back near the referee, slips and moves forward after the ball is played. He then charges the ball down. I'm comfortable with the decision to play on."
The unpunished incidents follow the Warriors heartbreaking 15-14 defeat to Manly in Perth that saw players from both teams blatantly offside while trying to defend field goal plays by Johnson and Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, who eventually nailed a shot off his left foot to win the game at nib Stadium.
The problem of referees failing to act on offences that would earn a penalty during any other stage of regulation time has become so bad that Warriors coach Andrew McFadden instructed his halves to be aware of opportunities to run the ball with defenders rushing up and potentially leaving holes to exploit.
That proved to be the case when Johnson stepped inside a quickly advancing and staggered Panthers line to make an angled run past several defenders to dive over and score in the 90th minute.