Harrigan backs Hodges try decision
Referees chief Bill Harrigan has backed the decision of video referee Steve Clark to award a try to Queensland centre Justin Hodges in Wednesday’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
NSW were left fuming after the 37th-minute effort was allowed, claiming Beau Scott and Robbie Farah were obstructed by Ben Hannant, and Hodges ran behind his Brisbane teammate to score.
Blues great Brad Fittler and Queensland legend Wally Lewis both slammed the decision during commentary on the 21-20 win for the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium.
The official wording of the NRL’s obstruction rule says: “The runner cannot run behind his own team and gain an advantage.”
However, Harrigan said that last year a change was made to the interpretation of the rule and that Clark made the correct call.
“The change was that: If in the opinion of the referee or video referee the play had no effect on the scoring of a try then a try will be awarded,” Harrigan told the NRL website.
“The reason for this change was that the obstruction rule had become so technical that tries were being disallowed when they shouldn’t have been.
“There remain a number of indicators that referees should look for in determining if an obstruction has taken place but the over-riding one they must consider is whether a player actually had an effect on the try being scored.
“In this case both video referees believed that Scott wasn’t impeded by Ben Hannant’s decoy run and that Farah had minimal contact which did not alter the outcome.
“Both video referees formed the view therefore that the player did not have an effect on the scoring of the try. Having reviewed the footage we support that position.”
It was the second contentious decision to go against NSW in the series, with Greg Inglis awarded a try in game one after appearing to knock on.
Harrigan said that try was awarded because Farah played at the ball with his foot and the deflection off Inglis was a legitimate rebound.© AAP 2013