Graham Annesley – Michmutters

Canberra Raiders vs St George Illawarra Dragons finish, Corey Harawira-Naera tackle on Mat Fegai, penalty, video

Dragons fans will tell you the finish to Sunday’s game against the Raiders was a square-up after what happened in Wollongong earlier in the year, but the NRL is adamant the officials got the call right to not award St George Illawarra a penalty from 15m out which would have sent the match to golden point.

The Dragons were down 24-22 when Mathew Feagai broke into the clear, only to be chopped down close to the line as time was about to expire.

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The winger tried to get to his feet, but was held down by Corey Harawira-Naera and the ball then came free just as the referee blew his whistle, leaving the Red V with virtually no chance of making the finals.

Players were incensed that they weren’t given a penalty, and they were left to rue a shocking captain’s challenge at the start of the second half which meant they couldn’t send the play to the Bunker to have it reviewed.

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The Dragons’ Jack Bird was furious with the decision. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

It brought back memories of the farcical finish to the game at WIN Stadium when the Green Machine weren’t given a penalty when down 12-10 because the referee had called full-time.

However, NRL head of football Graham Annesley said the decision on Sunday was the correct one and that the Dragons would’ve been doubly disappointed even if they still had a challenge up their sleeve, because time had expired before the second movement by Harawira-Naera which pushed Feagai off his feet.

“The ball is not in play,” he said.

“There’s no possibility for the ball carrier to get up and play the ball in order to get another tackle.

“Regardless of any infringement that might take place by the defender – other than foul play – it’s irrelevant because the ball hasn’t been brought back into play and the referee can’t extend the play for a technical infringement to award a penalty.

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“They could’ve mounted a challenge had they had one left because the game is not finished at this point, even though time has expired and the referee has blown his whistle to indicate that he’s stopping play.

“He hasn’t at this point blown his whistle to say it’s full-time, so although the game could not have continued because of that technical infringement, it would not have prevented the Dragons from asking for a captain’s challenge.

“However, they would have lost the captain’s challenge because time had expired and we couldn’t restart the game for a technical infringement.

“It’s all very, very precise in terms of what can and can’t happen, and it needs to be that way because you can’t have another tackle after time has expired if the ball’s not already in play.”


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The incident was similar to the wild finish in Townsville a few weeks ago in that the Dragons would have technically been challenging the decision to end the game, just as the Cowboys did to snatch victory from the Wests Tigers.

“Not only could we not have restarted play because the tackle had been complete and hadn’t restarted, but we also couldn’t have restarted play because they’d knocked on in the ruck,” Annesley said.

“They would’ve been challenging the referee’s decision to stop the game in order to call full-time, similar to what happened with the Wests Tigers.

“They would’ve effectively been saying, ‘No, you can’t call full-time because we want to challenge what’s just happened.’

“But had they had a challenge and had it taken place, the Bunker would’ve had no choice but to deny the challenge because of not only the lost ball, but also play had not recommenced before time had expired.”

It was one of those weekends in the NRL, with a number of murky decisions.

Annesley said the Bunker made the right call to award a try to Bradman Best because the contact on Adam Reynolds wasn’t enough to prevent the try.

But he did concede the bunker got it horribly wrong at the SCG when Sam Verrills strolled over even though teammate Matt Lodge clearly held Griffin Neame back in the scrum.

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Sam Verrills celebrates a try which shouldn’t have been awarded. Picture; Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“The contact caused Neame to do a 360, and Verrills has gone past,” Annesley said.

“It happens very quickly in real time, but I think there’s enough on this in replay that the Bunker had the opportunity to look at.

“There’s enough of a hold after the ball is out of the scrum to say that that would be a breach of the rules, and in normal circumstances, would result in a penalty to the Cowboys.

“However, in this particular case, it wouldn’t have resulted in a penalty to the Cowboys because of the off-side at the scrum, which was the first offence.”



Raiders Dragons finish, Matt Feagai, Corey Harawira-Naera, penalty, no call, referee Andrew Gee, Round 22, Round 16

Rugby league has a funny way of balancing itself out.

The Dragons and Raiders have now been handed wins against each other this season in “almost identical” controversial fashion.

Canberra led 24-22 on Sunday afternoon when St George Illawarra winger Matt Feagai made a 70-metre break with just 10 seconds left in the game.

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Feagai was tackled 15 meters out from the Raiders’ line when Corey Harawira-Naera laid on top of him as time expired.

“They’re told to get up, penalty brewing, but referee (Adam Gee) says that will do us, oh it’s almost identical,” Brenton Speed ​​said on Fox League.

“Round 16 all over again in reverse. The Dragons are thinking ‘where’s our penalty’ that the Raiders did not get in Wollongong but Adam Gee says that is full-time and Canberra’s season is still alive and the Dragons are done.”

Back in July, the Raiders were robbed of an opportunity to kick a penalty goal to send their clash with the Dragons to golden point.

Canberra had the ball in front of the goalposts on the fifth tackle, when Ben Hunt and Jack Bird intentionally slowed the play-the-ball.

The Raiders were awarded a six again before Hunt charged from market to tackle dummy-half Tom Starling — a play which NRL head of football Graham Annesley later admitted should have been awarded a penalty.

Annesley also conceded a penalty could have been awarded for the flop and an off-side call in the lead-up to the fifth tackle.

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The scenes reversed on Sunday afternoon as a stunned Dragons coach Anthony Griffin looked on in disbelief.

“He should have been penalized at the very least for a professional foul,” Braith Anasta said on Fox League.

“There was just one last shove from (Harawira-Naera), because as Feagai was getting tackled the clock was ticking down… but there was a little shove,” Greg Alexander said.

“It’s incredible that we’ve had both teams win games in very similar circumstances.”

But speaking in the post-game press conference, Griffin wasn’t too upset about what he had played out — he even conceded it was “a little bit ironic” given what had happened in Round 16.

Asked if I found the ending frustrating Griffin said: “Nah, it’s probably a little bit ironic compared to the first game.

“We just ran out of time, it was a fantastic linebreak at that time of the game and the captain did everything he could with his kicking game to get us into field position and put Matty away,” he added.

“We just needed one more play the ball but that’s the way the world works.”



Warriors coach Stacey Jones says Nelson Asofa-Solomona should have been charged for head-rattling hit

Storm hardman Nelson Asofa-Solomona is getting away with too much according to Warriors interim coach Stacey Jones who remains “baffled” he wasn’t charged by the NRL match review committee for an incident which left Wayde Egan with two cracked teeth.

Jones went even further and said given Asofa-Solomona’s record of four charges in 2022, which have all resulted in fines, he could be due to a suspension if only to make him think more about his behaviour.

Egan was “rattled” by the incident in which Asofa-Solomona came down on top of him in a tackle last Friday which forced him from the field but was missed as only “minor contact by match review committee manager Luke Patten.

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Asofa-Solomona, who is yet to be suspended this season despite being charged three times for high tackles and one for making dangerous contact with a defender using his forearm, wasn’t even fined for landing his elbow on Egan’s face.

Patten said it was just a case of “two big men on a smaller man” in a prerecorded video shown at football boss Graham Annesley’s weekly media briefing on Monday and there was “no force applied to Egan’s neck”.

Jones, however, saw things differently and thought a chance was missed to send a signal to players about making contact in tackles.

“It’s not a good message,” Jones said, “It’s baffled me a little bit, like everyone else.

“We’re all about protecting our players. The game is so tough and physical.

“Wayde was really rattled. It could have been worse but I thought (Asofa-Solomona) could have at least been charged.”

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Jones said Asofa-Solomona, a New Zealand international, might need to be shown, though a suspension, that he needs to change his ways when tackling.

“It’s about protecting Nelson too, in some sort of way,” he said.

“He plays a physical game and the size of his body and the damage he could do to someone, it could turn out very nasty.

“I’m sure Nelson doesn’t want to have that on him.”

Jones confirmed both departing playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita and Jazz Tevaga are unlikely to play again this season.

Harris-Tavita has suffered an MCL injury in his knee while Tevaga has a shoulder injury.



Nelson Asofa-Solomona escapes charge, Melbourne Storm, Judiciary, match review committee

The NRL has been labeled embarrassing for their explanation as to why Storm star Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaped sanction for cracking Wayde Egan’s teeth with his elbow.

Asofa-Solomona was not even charged by the match review committee, despite being placed on report and penalized on the field for slamming his elbow and forearm onto the face of Egan as he fell to the ground in a tackle.

“There were a lot of incidents over the weekend with the Nelson Asofa-Solomona one the most contentious by a long way,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.

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“What I struggle to come to terms with is I saw a head clash (Dale Finucane on Stephen Crichton) last week get two weeks and I see this and he gets nothing.”

Paul Kent blasted the NRL’s feeble explanation by disputing all three assertions they made around Asofa-Solomona’s actions.

“Let me just bring up some things,” Kent said.

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“They said, there is a separation out there. If I am going to punch you in the face right now, there is going to be separation at some point between my fist and your face before it gets there, but there will be eventual contact. That’s the first thing.

“Second, there was not enough force to warrant a charge. I have cracked his teeth. Two teeth. So not enough force to warrant a charge?


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Nelson Asofa-Solomona was placed on report and penalized but escaped a charge.Source: Supplied

“Third, there was possible contact to the neck and chin area. Again, I cracked his teeth.

“What part of head contact do they not understand there. If you have got cracked teeth from a tackle, how do you say there is not enough force and possible contact to the neck or chin area?”

Paul Crawley labeled Luke Patten and Graham Annesley’s explanation as the dumbest thing ever to come out of NRL HQ in a stunning take-down.

“That’s the dumbest explanation that I have ever heard come out of the NRL from Luke Patten,” Crawley said.

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Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaped sanction for his tackle on Wayde Egan.Source: FOX SPORTS

“For Graham Annesley, a bloke that has been around the game for as long as he has to stand there and allow that to be said and expect that everyone is just going to suck that up and accept it.

“Like seriously it is so embarrassing. They have got to be better.

“That was a shocking tackle. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves got a $3000 fine for his tackle on Zac Fulton. It wasn’t as bad as this.

“This gets off. This doesn’t even get to fine. This gets nothing.

“And this is on the back of Asofa-Solomona having two separate charges last week. Two ends. The week before in Round 18 another one. Earlier in the season another one.

“That’s four ends this year and this one gets nothing.”