Manly coach Des Hasler wants to speak with NRL referees’ boss Bernard Sutton over the interpretation of the new six-again policy, concerned the game could become less competitive.
Hasler had every right to be furious following Saturday night’s 19-16 loss to Parramatta, with the NRL admitting his team were robbed late in the game.
The NRL’s head of football Graham Annesley confirmed they had been wrongly denied a try, with a Tom Trbojevic ball incorrectly ruled forward before Rueben Garrick crossed.
The drama overshadowed what had arguably been the highest quality match since the game’s restart, between two of the competition’s front runners.
Crucially, Annesley was adamant the mistake was not a result of the one-referee system, but rather a touch judge error.
However, Hasler opted against being overly critical of the decision post-match, but revealed he had issues with consistencies in the six-again calls.
“The other thing I saw tonight for the first time was a real inconsistency in the six-again call,” Hasler said.
“It’s something I will be talking to (referees’ boss) Bernard Sutton about.”
Pressed further, Hasler indicated he had concerns over the number of blowout scores in the first two rounds on resumption.
While the NRL have seen increased ball-in-play time and a more open game with the rule, just two games in the first week and a half have been decided by single digits.
“I’m still encouraged by what I’ve seen, but we want to make sure we don’t make it too uncompetitive,” Hasler said.
“I think nearly every game that has been played so far has had 12 or 14 points in it or greater. We don’t want to take away that competitive edge.
“We certainly don’t want too many blow-out scores because it goes the other way, so we need to keep an eye on it.”
Hasler has long maintained that while he is happy to support the new rules, he wants the NRL to have an open-door policy on feedback over the changes.
Meanwhile, he lauded his team’s efforts to fight back from an early Parramatta onslaught compounded by Sea Eagles errors and poor last-tackle options.
When the Eels opted to take a penalty shot at goal in the 16th minute, they had enjoyed 70 per cent of the ball with the majority of the game played in Manly’s half.
“I was very impressed with the way this team fought back,” Hasler said.
“They never gave up, to come from 18-2 down and win the game basically. It’s early days but that’s probably one we should have got.”