Ben Murdoch-Masila's try to help spark a sensational NZ Warriors comeback win over Canberra Raiders shouldn't have been awarded, according to NRL head of football Graham Annesley.
After trailing 25-6 at halftime, the Warriors charged back into the contest, with outstanding new recruit Murdoch-Masila's crucial try in the 59th minute setting the stage for a memorable 34-31 win.
In his weekly review of contentious refereeing decisions, Annesley says the pass inside from Kodi Nikorima should have been called back by referee Henry Perenara.
Annesley says the camera angles used in the footage made the pass appear worse, but conceded that the ball had drifted forward out of Nikorima's hands.
"This decision has been reviewed by the refereeing department and by Jared Maxwell, and they believe that it's a forward pass," Annesley says. "We put up our hand on this one.
"There are some factors there that probably exaggerate the look of it when it took place, but I'm not going to try and stand here, and pretend like it wasn't forward.
"On the evidence available, the referee department has determined that was a forward pass."
While insisting he isn't making any excuses, Annesley adds that it's "important to note" Perenara was called in as a replacement for Matt Ceechin - who had fallen sick - just 30 minutes before kick-off.
The incident left Raiders coach Ricky Stuart seething, resulting in a brief 90-second appearance at the post-match press conference, during which he refused to answer media questions.
Stuart is now under NRL investigation for alleged abuse of Perenara from his sideline seat during the game.
"I've only come in here because it's my job, I respect the fact that you have got a job and I’ve got $20,000 hanging over my head," Stuart told media.
"If I don’t turn up here tonight I get fined. If all the money was going to the Ricky Stuart Foundation, I’d tell you the truth today, because then I’d get fined and know the money is going to the best cause I know of."
The Warriors have been on the other side of the refereeing review ledger in recent weeks.
Last week, the refereeing review determined Warriors hooker Wayde Egan's try in the 20-16 defeat to the Newcastle Knights had been incorrectly disallowed.
The win over the Raiders lifted them to the ninth on the NRL ladder, heaidng into Sunday's clash with Sydney Roosters.
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