NRL Finals 2022: Graham Annesley admits to forward pass error, Mitchell Moses

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has confirmed what every North Queensland fan already knew — that the Cowboys were robbed on the weekend.

The Parramatta Eels booked their spot in the NRL grand final after defeating North Queensland 24-20 at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday evening.

Parramatta opened the scoring when halfback Mitchell Moses threw a blatant forward pass to center Will Penisini, who crossed untouched for a try in the sixth minute.

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The touch judge, who was in the perfect position to see the forward pass, remarkably let it go, much to the disbelief of NRL fans and commentators.

“That’s gone a meter and a half forward!” Queensland rugby league legend Wally Lewis exclaimed on Triple M.

“That is a disgrace! An absolute disgrace! How could you miss it? He was standing virtually on a similar line.

“I sometimes mean a ball can float forward and you think, ‘Well maybe the referee’s made a judgment.’ That was just like a bullet — it just went so forward.”

The NRL Bunker currently does not have the power to rule on forward passes, and Annesley confirmed there were no plans in place to introduce forward pass technology next year.

“After reviewing the Moses pass it does appear to be forward out of his hands, which is the only thing that matters under the laws of the game,” he told reporters on Monday.

“It is marginal, but forward nonetheless.

“We are still discussing (forward pass technology) with the companies.

“There is a number of companies that have possible solutions but we are not near taking anything (to the Commission).”

Rugby league commentator Scott Sattler called for the Bunker to be allowed to make decisions on any run of play in the NRL.

“If we’re going to use it and spend millions of dollars on technology, use it for everything, or don’t use it at all or just use it for try scoring opportunities,” he said.

“We don’t need chips in balls and extra expenses, they’re going to spend another few hundred thousand or million dollars, we’ve got smart enough people in the game.

“If they feel as though they don’t have enough people in the game that are smart enough to do that, we are searching in the wrong places.”

Speaking to reporters after the agonizing four-point loss, Cowboys coach Todd Payten refused to blame the loss on Moses’ forward pass.

“My first instinct was I thought it was forward but looking back on replay a couple of time, I thought it was pretty tight,” he said.

“It happened early enough in the game to get over it. We went in 12-all at halftime and 20-12 after 55 minutes, so we moved on pretty well.”

Melbourne Storm great Cameron Smith argued that difference while the forward pass was statistically the between the two sides on Friday, North Queensland only had themselves to blame for the defeat.

“You can focus on that call and say that was the difference, but at the same time, the Cowboys had plenty of chances to score more points,” he said on Channel 9.

“They made some errors after that missed call. It’s one of a lot of things that happened throughout the match.

“I don’t think the Cowboys’ players and coaches sit down and say that’s the reason why we lost. I think they’ll look at their own performance and say, ‘We had opportunities to win the game, the opposition were just better.

“If you look at that as an isolated incident, you could probably think, ‘They scored the try, they kick the goal, they go up by six and we lose by four, that’s the reason we lost’. But I don’t think they will.”

Originally published as NRL head of football Graham Annesley admits to forward pass error

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