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NRL News: Walker confused by 'weirdest obstruction' calls, Lomax to Eels delay frustrates Arthur, Dragons eye off Turuva

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1st April, 2024
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Sydney Roosters halfback Sam Walker has urged the NRL to address the obstruction rule, saying inconsistencies are leaving players and fans frustrated.

The Roosters were last weekend the victims of the most controversial obstruction decision, when Joey Manu was denied a try by the bunker against Penrith.

The NRL later admitted fault, with head of football Graham Annesley conceding Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards would never have reached Manu to deny the try.

But Walker is adamant that was not the only decision to leave him miffed, claiming there had been up to five in the opening four rounds he was left confused by.

“I’ve seen five this year that they’ve called the weirdest obstructions,” he said.

“But then other times they’ll be ‘oh, he might have got there’ or ‘he might not have got there; we don’t think he’s going to get there’.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“There’s not a great deal of consistency with it all. I know as a player that it’s frustrating. 


“But for fans … to sit there with fingers crossed not knowing what’s going to happen, that would be quite frustrating.

“The sooner we come to a decision about it all and get it out of the way (will be great) because no one wants to be talking about obstruction rules.”

Officials at the NRL are adamant there is no need for confusion around the rule, and that the laws and interpretations on lead runners have not changed for this season.

Several high-profile calls have revolved around decoy runners stopping in the defensive line, with Manly’s no-try against Parramatta in round three the most obvious example.

But the NRL insists that rule has been the case for nearly a decade, and that the indicators for determining obstructions are still the same.

Head office is also confident the right level of discretion is available to referees in determining if obstructed defenders would have been involved in the play. 


It comes after Ivan Cleary, himself a former referees consultant, and Wayne Bennett this weekend both warned against rules becoming too black-and-white on the matter.

Roosters hooker Brandon Smith on Monday also backed the NRL’s decision to come out and admit fault over the weekend, saying it did not leave a sour taste in his mouth.

“I guess it’d be frustrating for a few people, but I feel like it’s good ownership from the NRL to come out and say ‘we stuffed up’,” Smith said. 

“If they’re acknowledging that they’re making mistakes – and as long as we can learn from them – then it’s sweet.

“(It seems like) they’re trying to eliminate black-and-white in the competition with their rulings, and that was one of them. 

“I thought it was a pretty sketchy one. I didn’t know the obstruction was on Jared (Waerea-Hargreaves) until the end of the game, so that was pretty weird.” 

Lomax deal delay frustrates Arthur


Eels coach Brad Arthur would love to have Zac Lomax boosting his outside backs but the Dragons are playing hardball with their disgruntled star.

St George Illawarra coach Shane Flanagan said on Triple M on Sunday that he wouldn’t be surprised if Lomax again asked for a release from the final two years of his contract this week.

The Eels have expressed interest in Lomax’s services and have the salary cap room to take him on straight away but the Dragons want a player in return.

They would love to get their hands on rookie centre Blaize Talagi but the Eels will not part ways with the young prospect who scored a try on debut last week and will play five-eighth on Monday against the Wests Tigers.

Arthur said on Sunday that the club had tried to go through the proper channels to snare Lomax but had run into a dead end.

“The club went through the front door, we had conversations with the Dragons and it’s at a standstill,” he said on Sunday.


Dragons keen to snare Sunia

Off-contract flyer Sunia Turuva admits it would be incredibly hard to leave Penrith, saying his priority is to stay with the three-time premiers as talks begin with rivals.

Turuva is one of nine Panthers who will be off contract at the end of this year, as the club continue their never-ending battle with retaining talent under the salary cap.

In the past fortnight, Penrith have re-signed centres Taylan May and Izack Tago on bigger-money deals, leaving Turuva in a precarious position.

A report this week claimed Turuva’s management were hopeful of earning far more than the $350,000 offered by Penrith to keep the 2023 Dally M rookie of the year.

St George Illawarra have entered the race for Turuva’s signature as they will have plenty of money to spare even if they retain Zac Lomax beyond this season which is looking very unlikely.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)


The Panthers have long taken a position of being a club that will not budge on offers, given the delicate position of their cap and the upgrades required each year.

The exits of Apisai Koroisau, Stephen Crichton and Viliame Kikau, and the impending departure of Jarome Luai are testament to that approach.

But fresh off scoring a hat-trick in Thursday night’s 22-16 win over the Sydney Roosters, Turuva said it had dawned on him he did not want to leave the club.

“Straight after the game, that hit me,” Turuva said. 

“I want to be part of this team. It’s a special group we’ve got here. No matter who steps into the jersey. 

“I just want to be part of this club.

“I’ve left it to my manager and Penrith to organise all that stuff. But I’ve said it before – Penrith’s home. This is where I want to be.”


Turuva has made no secret of wanting to help buy his father a house with his next deal, after the family’s long-time home burned down in 2020. 

But the Fiji international also remains grateful for the way the Panthers have treated him.

The sudden death of the player’s mother in September 2021 was another huge blow, with Penrith dedicating wins to the family during that year’s premiership run.

“That’s exactly why I re-signed back in 2022,” Turuva said. 

“They were there with me through all the tough times. 


“I don’t forget that stuff. I don’t take that stuff for granted.”

A fullback through the junior grades until just before his NRL debut, Turuva could potentially net more money from rivals as a No.1.

But the 21-year-old said he was happy to wait on the wing at Penrith.

“When you got people like (Dylan Edwards at fullback), and Daine Laurie behind him, as well as guys in NSW Cup – they are just killing it,” Turuva said.

“I’ll stay on the wing as long as I have to, I’m loving it.”

with AAP