NRL flags bunker changes after wrong call

NRL head of football Graham Annesley has hinted at changes to the bunker's process after a wrong call was made against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.

CEO GRAHAM ANNESLEY speaks to media during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session in Gold Coast, Australia.
CEO GRAHAM ANNESLEY speaks to media during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Just two weeks out from the finals, the NRL is set to make changes to the bunker process after an error cost the Sydney Roosters a try on Saturday night.

Head of football Graham Annesley said a disagreement between bunker officials over whether there was an obstruction in the lead-up play resulted in the wrong decision.

The "no try" call did not cost the Roosters in their 42-12 win over Newcastle, but it's not the first instance this season the bunker has got an obvious call wrong.

Roosters forward Nat Butcher played the ball and stood in the defensive line, but had no room to move as the Knights were parked on their own goal line when Lindsay Collins scored.

"Using the common term of pub test in this, there's just no way this stands up under scrutiny as an obstruction," Annesley said.

On Monday, Annesley said he would need final approval from the ARL commission to make changes to the in-house bunker process but would not elaborate on what they were.

Senior review official Jared Maxwell and former player Beau Scott disagreed over the obstruction call in the bunker on Saturday night.

"As a result of that disagreement they came up with the wrong decision, in my view," Annesley said.

"I think it should have been a try.

"I think it should have been a try today, tomorrow, Saturday and every day of the week.

"But it was an error by the bunker caused by a disagreement, or differing views."

Over the next few days Annesley will make moves internally to make improvements, which ideally will have no impact on how the public see the bunker operate.

"What I hope to get to is a position where the general public notice no difference whatsoever," Annesley said.

"In terms of the outcome of the process, that will be no different.

"But we can look at the internal process ... and whether those processes need to change or be fine-tuned to give us a better chance of getting these sorts of decisions right."

Meanwhile, the NRL will analyse the rules around the captain's challenge at the end of the season as part of their annual review.

On Friday night Penrith lost a challenge when no camera angles could provide evidence a ball had not been stripped from Parramatta's Blake Ferguson.

The ruling was correct under the letter of the law, which states if the decision cannot be determined by the bunker it is deemed unsuccessful.

But it's the first time this season the rule has been exposed and Annesley said it could be tweaked.

"When we put the rules around the captain's challenge together we had to contemplate all possible scenarios," he said.

"I don't know that we contemplated not being able to determine with some degree of certainty which way the decision should go."

There has been 230 captain's challenges in 2020 with 41 per cent of decisions overturned.