NRL referees boss Tony Archer has defended the bunker in the wake of criticism of its decision to award Andrew Fifita’s decisive try in State of Origin III.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith has left scratching his head after the video referees gave the green light to Fifita’s 41st minute four-pointer, despite Michael Jennings being in front of the kicker.
Despite being in an offside position, Jennings was ruled to have been “passive” and not involved in the play.
Blues coach Laurie Daley said the rule had been “relaxed” and according to the NRL it has been an interpretation since 2013.
“At the point in which the ball is kicked, Michael Jennings is in front of the player who kicks the ball,” Archer said.
“When you see Fifita take possession of the ball, there are three Queensland players who have retreated back to the ball and Jennings is behind those and having no influence on the game at that point. So I understand the decision and it being the correct decision.”
The try was compared to a no try in last year’s game III decider in which Johnathan Thurston was denied a try because Matt Gillett was in an offside position.
However Archer said because Gillett handled the ball during the movement, he was deemed an active player and the try was turned down.
But Melbourne, Queensland and Australian captain Smith hadn’t got the memo about the interpretation being changed.
“My understanding is if a person is inside the 10m (when a try is scored after being) in front of the kicker, that is offside,” Smith said.
“I’m pretty sure last year we had a try taken off us. Matt Gillett might have been offside.
“That wasn’t the refs … that was the bunker that made that call, I understand that.
“But I didn’t know we relaxed rules in our game.”
Maroons coach Kevin Walters agreed.
“I have to support Cameron, there, it was one of our things that didn’t go our way,” Walters said.