A sheepish Kieran Foran has conceded he did knock the ball forward in the build-up to Manly's controversial fourth try in Friday's 22-12 NRL semi-final win over North Queensland.

The Cowboys were fuming after Foran rose above Johnathan Thurston to palm the ball forwards before Michael Oldfield got the final touch for a vital 63rd-minute four-pointer.

Foran claimed after the match when quizzed by reporters that he didn't touch the ball, but having seen the incident on television, Foran said he can now see that he did knock-on.

After several reviews of the incident, video referees Steve Clark and Paul Simpkins awarded a try, only for referees bosses Stuart Raper and Bill Harrigan to confirm the decision was incorrect 24 hours later.


The pair have since been stood down for this weekend's preliminary finals matches, between Melbourne and Manly on Friday and Canterbury and South Sydney on Saturday.

Foran maintains, he was confident at the time that he didn't touch the ball.

"In the heat of the moment I didn't think I touched it, and that is what I said after the game," Foran said.

"But they've obviously reviewed it and it's turned out differently."

Foran said he understood the furore the situation has created, but said it shouldn't overshadow a very strong performance that saw the premiers move one step away from a second successive grand final appearance.

"It was a fairly big decision, it's finals footy and you want to see referees get those decisions right, so I am not really surprised it has dragged on," he said.

"There were a couple of decisions that were funny like the Oldfield try and the strip that led to their second try.

"But I do think it has overshadowed the win a bit. We played our best 80 minutes in about six weeks.

"We put in a good performance we really felt we ground the Cowboys down and deserved to win."