Warriors v Bulldogs: NRLs Graham Annesley concedes late hit on Te Maire Martin should have been penalised

By Will Toogood of

Te Maire Martin of the Warriors in possession. Canterbury Bulldogs v One NZ Warriors. NRL Rugby League, Accor Stadium., NSW, Australia, Saturday 6th July 2024 Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz

A late hit on Warriors half Te Maire Martin in their match against the Bulldogs that went unpunished should have been a penalty, says a top-level NRL executive.

Head of football elite competitions, Graham Annesley, said in his weekly football briefing that the lack of action during the match was “unacceptable.

“We think this is a miss by the match officials and it’s unacceptable, but that’s what took place.”

With little time remaining in the match and the score locked at 12-12, the Warriors had the ball on the Bulldogs 20m line and were looking to make a field goal attempt.

Desperate to close down Martin, Jaeman Salmon flew from the Bulldogs’ defensive line and thundered into the Warriors’ playmaker, injuring himself in the process and sending Martin sprawling.

Replays showed the ball had almost reached Martin’s intended target and would likely meet the threshold for dangerous contact due to the lateness of the hit.

However, during the considerable time taken by the Bunker to assess the tackle, Annesley revealed that they only were looking to see whether the contact by Salmon was high, not if it was late.

“The bunker did spend all of their time in this review trying to determine whether this was high contact or not. What they didn’t do in this case was give due regard to the tackle being late, or the contact being late and whether the defender could have pulled out of this tackle or not or at least reduced the velocity of it.

“The real question here is should this have been penalised on-field and the answer to that is clearly yes, it should have been. Not because it was high, but because it was late,” Annesley said.

Had the hit been penalised at the time a successful shot at goal would have put the Warriors in front by two. There is no guarantee they would have gone on to win the match but the context of the game would have changed dramatically.

During the match broadcast, ex-Brisbane Bronco Corey Parker was in disbelief of the Bunker’s ruling.

“I don’t understand how that’s clear,” Parker said.

“Both players are grabbing their face. How is that clear? How is that clear?”

Salmon was cited and has subsequently been handed a minimum two-game suspension by the NRL’s match review committee, if he accepts an early guilty plea. If he is found guilty at the panel he will miss three matches.

After emerging from the tackle with a bloody mouth, it has emerged that Salmon has a fractured jaw and will miss up to six weeks of football after having surgery.

The committee reviewed the incident and in charging Salmon they decided to do so on the basis of the contact being late, not high.

“The match review committee did give due regard to the late nature of the contact and that the ball had been passed,” = Annesley said.

The news will come as little surprise to Warriors fans, who took to social media in droves to voice their displeasure with the lack of action taken, but will be of little comfort as the Bulldogs emerged victorious from the match 13-12 after a Matt Burton field goal in golden point.

– This story was first published by theNew Zealand Herald.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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