NRL referee Henry Perenara has apologised for a mistake which denied the Parramatta Eels a try after a bizarre call which left everyone confused.
During the Eels' win over the Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta launched an attack on the right wing with captain Clint Gutherson batting the ball on to Blake Ferguson who strolled over the line untouched.
But before Ferguson put the ball down, Perenara blew his whistle, saying Gutehrson knocked the ball on.
The on-field call was challenged and the bunker ruled that Gutherson had intentionally passed the ball backwards, but a try couldn't be awarded as Ferguson had not grounded the ball before Perenara blew his whistle.
"It was my mistake," Perenara said after the bunker ruling. "I've called a knock-on, and that was challenged because it's a tip-on so we can challenge that because it's not a pass.
"It's not a try because I'd blown my whistle. That's my mistake. I called a knock-on."
Luckily for the Eels, they went on to win the match 26-12 so the decision had no impact on the outcome.
But commentator Andrew Voss was left baffled by the ruling.
The bunker is unable to rule on a pass being forward or back, hence the ruling of Gutherson's tap on being challenged for a knock-on.
"So they challenge the knock-on, but it's a pass isn't it? It's a tip on," Voss said. "Can you call that a knock-on? He's tipped that on deliberately.
"How can the bunker even describe that as a knock-on? The bunker, if they're following protocol have to throw it back - we can't rule on that, it's a pass."
Eels coach Brad Arthur said it was just a mistake and that the team had accepted Perenara's apology.
"He made a mistake, our players make mistakes don't they. The boys said he apologised."
Earlier, the Penrith Panthers secured the NRL minor premiership with a 32-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys. The win was the Panthers' 14th straight, which delighted coach Ivan Cleary.
"We didn't care how the win came today, there was a lot riding on it.
"We certainly value [the minor premiership]. In the football world it's considered the major premiership – a testament to who is the most consistent team is the comp.
"If you look at the past winners over the last seven years it's the Roosters and Storm.
"For us to be in that company it's something we're really proud of. It's no mean feat."
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