Warriors coach Andrew McFadden accused the NRL of bowing to media pressure and changing the interpretation of the penalty try mid-season.

The Warriors were left hurting after a controversial video bunker decision allowed Cronulla's Jayson Bukuya the first penalty try of the year in last night's thrilling 19-18 golden-point defeat at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The visitors were trailing 12-10 early in the second-half when Bukuya was held back by Warriors back-rower Simon Mannering, as the pair chased a Michael Ennis grubber into the ingoal.

Bukuya looked likely to win the race but Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman argued that he was no certainty to ground the bouncing ball and queried how the decision was reached.


The ruling came just a week after the Sydney Roosters were denied a try to wing Joseph Manu when his Warriors opposite Ken Maumalo pushed him off the ball in a similar manner.

McFadden refused to blame the incident for the loss but suggested the game's governing body had tweaked the interpretation of the rule without informing clubs.

"To me that looks like a bit of media pressure," said McFadden.

"It's not that we really disagree with the decision but that's a different interpretation from what they've been doing."

Hoffman, who was denied a scoring chance in the round five win over the Roosters when pushed by forward Aidan Guerra, believed the decision contradicted numerous incidents this season.

"There's been quite a few this year that they couldn't definitively know that he was going to score the try.

"So I don't know what's changed in the last couple of weeks for them to reckon that there was absolutely no doubt that he was going to score that try with a bouncing ball bouncing everywhere.

"So Cappy's (McFadden) right, it seems to be a bit of media pressure there."

Sharks forwards Jayson Bukuya and Luke Lewis celebrate their hard-fought win over the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Sharks forwards Jayson Bukuya and Luke Lewis celebrate their hard-fought win over the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen admitted he was surprised by the decision and felt it was a tough call against the Warriors.

"I didn't think it would be a try," said Gallen. "It was a bit of a harsh call against them."

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan also had some sympathy for the visitors and said the referee's need to be consistent in their interpretation throughout the remainder of the season.

"If the shoe was on the other foot I'd be probably questioning (it)," said Flanagan.

"Because I've seen that happen before but I think it was a brave decision by the referees to award it.

"Because he would have scored, bar (some doubt) the grounding. There was no one back there.

"If that is a penalty try like that, continue to do it for the rest of the year."