NRL: NZ Warriors' Andrew Webster, Shaun Johnson back last second penalty call that led to draw with Manly Sea Eagles

NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster completely agrees with the late penalty decision that gave his side a game-tying penalty kick against Manly Sea Eagles at Go Media Stadium.   

As regulation time ended, veteran half Shaun Johnson attempted a long-range two-point field goal. The attempt fell well short, but the bunker deemed Sea Eagles prop Josh Aloiai contacted Johnson late in his follow-through, after referee Chris Butler asked for the challenge to be checked.    

The call led to a game-tying penalty kick from right out in front, which Johnson calmly slotted to send the match to golden point.    

Referee Chris Butler awards a penalty to the Warriors forcing the game into extra time
Referee Chris Butler awards a penalty to the Warriors forcing the game into extra time Photo credit: Getty Images

After the game eventually finished 22-22, Webster was quick to back the bunker's decision.   

"I think it was definitely the right call," he said. ""If you give yourselves enough chance, then luck might go your way.

"In the end, he obviously attacked Shaun's legs - we got the decision and got the kick right in front. Fortunate for us and unfortunate for them."  

The second-year head coach was then quick to bring up the NRL's new directive to protect kickers, rule changes the club knows all too well, after hooker Freddy Lussick was banned for four matches for a leg-breaking kick challenge on South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Lachlan Ilias in the New South Wales Cup.  

"We certainly know what's been happening lately with us as a club with Freddy, so that's the situation.   

"I don't think Josh meant it, he's trying to charge the ball down... but it's just unfortunate that's what happened. They're the rules, that's how it is."    

Johnson, who had only moments earlier assisted and converted Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's late try, agreed with his coach's interpretation.     

"Kicker protection is at the forefront of everything at the moment," said Johnson. "I got a cork in the leg, the ref reviewed it and that's the call they made.

"I'm glad that it didn't end up worse, because I've been in that position before and come out a lot worse."   

Unsurprisingly, Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold was slightly less enthusiastic about the call.

"It's something I don't want to make comment on," he said. "If I say it shouldn't have been a penalty, I'll be called a whinger.

"If I say it should've been a penalty, then potentially, I'm not looking after the players in my group. It was adjudicated a penalty and we just have to get on with it."   

The Warriors trailed the Manly 16-0, before mounting a ferocious comeback to grab a point from the contest.   

They'll visit the struggling St George Dragons in round seven, as they continue to push towards the top four.  

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