New technology could finally render forward passes a thing of the past – but don’t hold your breath on a fix this season.
New technology could finally render forward passes a thing of the past – but don’t hold your breath on a fix this season, NRL head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley said.
The former Titans boss said that he was in contact ‘pretty regularly’ with a company developing a system to automatically detect forward passes.
He declined to name who the NRL was working with – but that he would ask them if they were happy to be identified.
“Is it going to happen this season? No, it’s not going to happen this season. But we are making good progress in terms of a potential development that would help solve this problem,” he said in his weekly briefing on Monday.
“It’s a problem that’s been around the game for as long as it’s been covered on television.”
Annesley said the technology would not be trialed in an NRL game, and could potentially be done at a club’s training session.
“We have been talking to a company for quite some time and I’m hopeful that we’re not that far off a trial, a test of the technology. If we get to that point and we can be convinced that the technology is accurate, then it becomes a business case that we have to mount to the commission to justify the expenditure.
“We have to demonstrate that whatever that cost is, that there’ll be a corresponding benefit to the game. If it’s successful, then we’re on our way,” he said.
An incident on the weekend has thrust the issue back into the spotlight – with Raiders fans furious that a pass from Kodi Nikorima to Ben Murdoch-Masila was allowed to stand.
The try was a key moment in sparking a 21-point comeback from the Warriors, the largest in club history.
“That drew attention to the pass – there’s also the fact that the ball receiver has to reach out to get the ball.”
“We’ve had this discussion many times about forward passes, and camera angles and all sorts of things,
“This decision’s been reviewed by the refereeing department and by Jared Maxwell and they believe it’s a forward pass. We put up our hand on this one.”
“Camera angles can be deceiving at times and there are some factors there that possibly exaggerated the look of it when it took place.
“But I’m not going to sit here and try to defend that it wasn’t forward.”
Annesley said he hadn’t spoken to Raiders coach Ricky Stuart about the incident, but that Jared Maxwell had.
Stuart stormed out of his post-game press conference without answering a question, alluding to his frustration with several calls in the match.
Annesley said that Stuart’s conduct was still examined.
“They are matters I’m not directly responsible for … from what I’m told, those matters are still being looked into.”
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