Wests Tigers won’t appeal a loss to North Queensland despite the NRL granting it needs to clarify the captain’s challenge rule as a result of the controversy.
- The Wests Tigers have “reluctantly” opted against appealing the result of their loss to the Cowboys
- The Tigers say “everyone knows” they should have won the game
- The NRL says it will review the captain’s challenge rule at the end of the season
The Tigers still maintain the Cowboys didn’t have the right to challenge a play late in the game that allowed a match-winning penalty to be awarded.
But the club will accept the NRL’s call and not pursue legal action despite releasing a fiery statement declaring history would show the wrong team won the match.
“We extracted a concession from the NRL that the obstruction penalty which was given was erroneous and therefore, by implication, Wests Tigers should have won that match,” the statement read.
“We know it, everyone knows it… unfortunately, the history books will not record it that way.”
Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis and chief executive Justin Pascoe met with NRL heavyweights Peter V’landys, Andrew Abdo and Graham Annesley last Thursday.
The Tigers’ statement noted “robust and earnest discussions”, saying the NRL admitted sufficient ambiguity in the rule to allow their interpretation.
They said independent legal advice determined they would “reluctantly” not take further action, despite a senior counsel seeing “cogent” arguments.
The Tigers said they did not believe a legal challenge would be in the best interests of rugby league.
“Litigation is, at best, inherently risky and Wests Tigers is not prepared to commit to what would be speculative litigation, particularly in light of the cogent arguments which are available to both parties,” they said.
While the NRL accepts the last-second escort penalty given to the Cowboys was wrong, it does not agree with the Tigers’ complaint that no challenge was legally permitted as no penalty was made on the field and the siren went.
The NRL has maintained the Cowboys were challenging play stopping after the full-time siren as they believed a penalty had occurred.
But the governing body has conceded it needs to review the rule so there is clarity regarding captain’s challenges.
“The NRL is comfortable with the interpretation that was applied but has acknowledged, in light of the concerns raised by the Wests Tigers, that the rule needs to be reviewed at the end of the season to provide more clarity so as to ensure that there is no future misunderstanding as to the intent and application of the rule,” an NRL statement read.
“Wests Tigers will be consulted as part of the review, together with other interested clubs and stakeholders.
“The NRL acknowledges the professional and respectful manner in which the representatives of the Wests Tigers have pursued their concerns on behalf of their club’s members and fans.”