Many agree Manly was robbed.
Many agree Manly was robbed.

NRL great Mark Geyer weighs in on ‘blight on the game’

Rugby league great Mark Geyer has urged the NRL to do something about the forward pass rule after Manly was robbed of victory against Parramatta on the weekend because of a botched call.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted the touch judge got his decision wrong when he ruled Tom Trbojevic's pass to winger Reuben Garrick in the final minute went forward, a decision that denied the Sea Eagles a thrilling win.

Garrick bulldozed over Eels fullback Clint Gutherson for what he thought was the match-winning try, only for the official to crush Manly's celebrations.

While Trbojevic's pass floated forwards in the air, the ball went backwards out of his hands. If a pass goes backwards out of the hands, it is still considered legal even if the ball floats forward before reaching the target.

The video referee is not allowed to rule on forward passes, but Penrith legend Geyer believes that needs to change after footage clearly showed there was nothing wrong with Trbojevic's last-ditch play.

"The forward pass rule is ugly, is a real blight on our game," Geyer said on the Triple M Rush Hour. "We can see it, everyone can see it.

"I use the analogy if me and you are in the same team and you put a grubber kick through and they call it back, 'Let's have a look at that, I think his chasers may have been a little bit offside', and I'm offside by two or three inches, they can tell that.

"So why can't they say or tell whether a ball's gone forward?

There’s little doubt Trbojevic’s pass went backwards out of the hands.
There’s little doubt Trbojevic’s pass went backwards out of the hands.

"You can always tell when the passer passes the ball backwards. That's the first thing you look at - where are his hands? Are his hands forward or are his hands backwards?

"Tommy Turbo's were way back. The ball floated half-a-metre forward but sorry, that's the shape of the ball. That's not Tommy Turbo's fault."

There has been a largely positive response to rule changes introduced after the two-month break caused by coronavirus. Going back to one referee has been a hit with fans while the new "six-again" rule for ruck infringements has led to faster play and fewer stoppages.

But Geyer doesn't want to see another forward pass controversy overshadow everything that's working so well in rugby league.

"We need to get that fixed straight away because it's an ugly blight on the game," he said.

"In a game that you can't find too much ugliness in at the moment ... the game is flowing, the game is beautiful to watch but just get that rule done."


Originally published as Ugly footy flaw a 'blight on the game'