NRL head of football Graham Annesley shot down calls for the game to return to one central referee after three grand final officials were involved in a controversial six-again call in the Roosters' 14-8 grand final win over the Raiders at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Head referee Ben Cummins initially signalled for another Raiders set, but was advised by his assistant Gerard Sutton and touch judge Chris Butler to change that call to play on, which he did immediately.
It was the last tackle so some Raiders players thought they had another six tackles to try to grab a try since they were pressing the Roosters' line well within the red zone.
Annesley said he watched the incident from four different camera angles after the game and saw the ball come off a Canberra player.
"That meant six tackles should not have been awarded," he said. "But I accept it created confusion among the Canberra players.
Referees only audio of the six again reversal
"It's obviously very messy and very disappointing for the game as a whole that we're now talking about an incident where they actually got the decision right – but they got it right in a way that's caused controversy.
"But if they had not corrected the decision and the Raiders had scored, I'd probably still be sitting here telling you a try had been scored off an incorrect decision.
"But from the moment it happened the outcome was going to be very unpalatable.
"One of the reasons we have multiple officials on the field is to try to get decisions right."
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The fact one official saw one thing while others saw something different raised the question of whether the NRL should revert to pre-2009 days when a single referee controlled games.
"If we'd had one referee tonight we would have got the decision wrong," Annesley said.
"It's not possible to avoid errors. Errors by their very definition aren't intended to happen. So if anyone can sit in this chair and tell you they can prevent errors from occurring, then we should be hiring them immediately."
Annesley said he hadn't spoken to Cummins in the post-match scramble to watch video replays of the six-again incident, as well as a Luke Keary kick ricocheting off a Roosters trainer's head, with Raiders back-rower Elliott Whitehead in hot pursuit to collect it and race down field. Instead the Roosters were awarded the scrum as the team with the territorial advantage.
"That's an international law of the game called 'mutual infringement' and is not a NRL interpretation," he said.
Annesley also quickly reviewed Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk being sin-binned for a professional foul by tackling Josh Papalii before he had received the ball close to the try-line.
Cronk sent to sin-bin for professional foul
"The momentary early contact did not really give an opportunity for that ball to be taken cleanly. It was potentially a try-scoring situation," Annesley said,
"I also accept people will disagree with that. But I believe that [decision] was OK."