NRL referees boss Tony Archer has backed the bunker’s decision to award a controversial penalty try to Jayson Bukuya in Cronulla’s golden point win over the Warriors on Saturday.
Bukuya was ruled to have been impeded by Simon Mannering as he chased down the Steeden in the Warriors’ in goal, in the 49th minute of the Sharks’ golden point victory at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
A number of other potential penalty tries have been denied by the video referees in recent weeks, but Luke Patten awarded the four-pointer at a crucial period in the round 16 fixture.
It was a decision which riled Warriors skipper Ryan Hoffman and led their coach Andrew McFadden to claim the result was an indication the bunker had caved in to “media pressure”.
But Archer said the call was the right one.
“On Saturday night, there were a number of indicators which were present in order for the officials to rule a penalty try,” Archer said on Sunday.
“Jayson Bukuya was in front of Simon Mannering when chasing the ball, Mannering tackled Bukuya without the ball, there were no other Warriors defenders in the vicinity of the ball, while Bukuya went very close to grounding the ball in the in goal even after the contact by Mannering.
“Because all of those elements were present, there was enough evidence to rule a penalty try.”
Just a week prior the bunker decided not to award the Sydney Roosters’ Joseph Manu a penalty try against the Warriors after he was pushed off the ball by Ken Maumalo in a similar incident. However Maumalo was sin-binned for a professional foul.
That led McFadden to say the interpretation of the rule had changed. Archer denied that was the case.
“There has been no change to any interpretation of how officials rule on potential penalty try situations,” he said.
“The laws of the game state that if, in the opinion of a referee or review official, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team, a penalty try is awarded.
“Importantly when applying is rule, their opinion needs to be satisfied that the player would have scored.
“In circumstances where the officials are not of the opinion that a player would have scored, but he is still interfered with, a professional foul is ruled, and players are penalised and sin-binned.”