‘We got it wrong’: NRL says match-gifting penalty shouldn’t have been given
By Adrian Proszenko24 March 2018 — 12:26pm
The NRL has conceded the controversial match-deciding penalty call against Wests Tigers on Friday night against Brisbane was “incorrect”.
Referee Ashley Klein penalised Tigers forward Robbie Rochow for not standing square at marker in the 86th minute in golden point. Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako kicked the penalty goal to hand his side a 9-7 victory.
The decision stunned Tigers coach Ivan Cleary and shattered his side’s hopes of an unbeaten start to the season.
Having reviewed the decision, referees’ boss Bernard Sutton declared his officials got it wrong.
“Ultimately, the penalty was incorrect,” Sutton told Fairfax Media. “There are a couple of contributing factors to how the referees came to that decision.
“Initially, Robbie Rochow doesn’t start square, but he does adjust as the play-the-ball happens.
“The other thing is when (Joe) Ofehangue plays the ball, after playing it he steps towards the left. It gives the illusion to the referees that (Robbie) Rochow is standing standing beside, but he actually does adjust to the point where the ball is to be played.
I spoke to the referees last night about what they were looking at and again this morning once they have had a chance to review it themselves.
“We’ll move forward with it to the coaching aspect now - where they were standing, what could they see and how we reached that point.”
Sutton contacted Cleary on Saturday morning to inform the club of the NRL’s verdict on the call.
“Ivan and I have a reasonable relationship, we talk on a regular basis. We will continue to chat,” Sutton said.
“Everyone (Klein and assistant referee Matt Noyen) matched up their information in arriving to that decision. There is no one person responsible.”
Asked if either whistleblower was facing the axe given it was a match-deciding blunder, Sutton said: “Certainly we are not considering that at this point. We have another five games to go from the weekend. The big thing for us is to get through the weekend and then sit down on Monday and assess how we have come through each of the eight games.
“Then we can set some direction going forward. We won’t make any consideration on that until we get to the end of the weekend.”