Harrigan backs under-fire Ward - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harrigan backs under-fire Ward

Steve Jancetic 05/04/2011 06:26:06 PM Comments (0)

NRL referees boss Bill Harrigan says he would have awarded a try to Canterbury rookie Tim Lafai on Monday night, but claims he has no problem with video referee Chris Ward giving the controversial four-pointer the red light.

Ward earned the ire of Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore when he rejected what seemed a fair try to Lafai 30 minutes into the Storm's 30-16 win at AAMI Park, with Moore calling for Ward to be sacked.

Lafai was denied due to an obstruction call against teammate Jake Foster, who barrelled over Storm halfback Cooper Cronk despite the latter seemingly having little chance of getting to Lafai.

It was a crucial call in the context of the match, with what would have been a 10-8 lead to the Bulldogs instead turning into a 14-4 deficit as the Storm went 100 metres to score on the following set.

But while Harrigan would have given the try, he saw no reason to penalise Ward - who was on Tuesday appointed to the video box for Monday night's Brisbane-Newcastle clash.

"I'm happy with what (Ward) said because he followed procedure and in the end his opinion was that (Foster) did have an effect on the play," Harrigan told AAP.

"I believe that try would have been scored regardless of the collision.

"(Ward) believed that Cooper Cronk was hit flush because his head jolts back, that he had eyes on the ball player, and when the pass went and (Cronk) tried to go to his right, the collision occurred that prevented him from doing that.

"I can understand that and I can see it, and it's a very close decision.

"It's certainly not a black and white one ... this one is one of those decisions where there is an opinion and I can understand his opinion and that's why he's still been appointed this weekend."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted his side may have benefitted from a generous ruling, but said the try should not have been awarded because of a forward pass from Ben Barba to Lafai.

Harrigan said he canvassed the opinion of several whistleblowers amongst his ranks, and while the majority agreed it should have been a try, he said there were some referees who sided with Ward.

"We've tried to make things as black and white as we can but in some areas of the game that's impossible," Harrigan said.

"What we're trying to work with is that we get a common understanding on obstructions and when it affects the play and doesn't affect the play.

"But we're always going to get situations like (Monday night), when some of us are saying it's a try, and then you're going to get others that don't believe it's a try ... neither is wrong or right - it's just one of those areas in the game in which there is an opinion."

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