NRL bunker senior official Jared Maxwell has been dropped for the shocking decision which wrongly awarded Akuila “Choc” Uate a game-deciding try that gave Manly is controversial win over Newcastle.
NRL referees boss Tony Archer said Maxwell had been stood down for the rest of the round after Uate was given a four-pointer in the Sea Eagles’ Friday night win over the Newcastle Knights, despite replays leaving no doubt he had dropped the ball before sliding over the line.
“Jared won’t be involved in any more games this weekend,” Maxwell told ABC radio.
“He has to be accountable for what he did. He broke the process and the decision was wrong.”
Uate was awarded the critical try midway through the second half by on-field referee Ashley Klein, despite his touch judge asking for the decision to be sent to the bunker for review.
Archer said Maxwell intervened against video-review protocol and informed Klein that the try was good to be given.
Replays then showed Uate lost possession short of the line.
The Sea Eagles went on to hold off a fast-finishing Knights to claim the closely fought 18-14 win.
The incident is certain to raise questions about how often referees are advised by the bunker before opting to send the decision to be reviewed.
Knights coach Nathan Brown was at a loss to explain why Klein had chosen not to ask for a replay.
“You watch him [the touch judge] mouth it out, ‘Just check the grounding’.”
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett admitted his team were lucky to escape with the two match points, but claimed poetic justice by insiting Uate was incorrectly robbed of a bona fide try moments earlier.
The former Knights’ winger had been denied a four-pointer after it was ruled he interfered with an airborne Brendan Elliot on a Blake Green kick that Uate chased down and scored from.
“Look, we were lucky. Some weeks you get them,” Barrett said.
“I thought the try before it, when he ruled Choc interfered with the catcher, I thought that was a fair try.
“And then the other one, obviously, he dropped it. In the end, it was a bit even-stevens.”
Uate insisted he should have been awarded both tries, including the match winner.
“I knew I couldn’t get to the ball so I just went up for a contest. He touched it first, so I scored that try,” he said of the first incident.
“I don’t think it was a knock-on – the next one I scored. It looks loose, but I still had my hands on the ball.
“It was a try. I don’t know what they’re talking about.”