Pearce knock-on confirmed by NRL

The NRL has conceded a Mitchell Pearce spilt ball in the late stages of Newcastle’s defeat of Canterbury on Saturday should have been ruled a knock-on.

But NRL head of football Graham Annesley said that wasn’t the biggest concern as referees Matt Cecchin and Tim Roby are reviewed following their Magic Round performance.

Knights half Pearce dived on a loose ball at Suncorp Stadium, with fullback Kalyn Ponga streaking away later in the set to seal a 22-10 victory.

Bulldogs coach Dean Pay chalked it up as another 50-50 decision against them post-game, while Pearce himself admitted surprise at the no-call.

Annesley confirmed on Monday that he had knocked on, but also that interference on Pearce from the Bulldogs as he chased the ball had been missed by the officials.

He was most concerned with a seven-tackle set for the Bulldogs, even though it didn’t have any direct impact on the score.

“That’s not an error we would not normally expect in a game,” Annesley said.

“The officials in that game are currently under review … and we’ll see what transpires (on Tuesday) when the refereeing appointments come out,” he said.

Annesley also said he was comfortable with the sin-binning of Parramatta’s Maika Sivo for his high shot on Melbourne fullback Jahrome Hughes.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters and Penrith great Greg Alexander were among those who thought Sivo was fortunate not to be sent off.

Eels coach Brad Arthur questioned whether it merited any attention, citing a high shot on prop Daniel Alvaro three weeks ago that went unpunished.

Annesley said it definitely merited attention though, admitting that either a send-off or sin-bin would’be been deemed appropriate by the league.

“I’m not going to be critical of that fact; it was one of those decisions that required action, he took action,” Annesley said.

“Some people will believe the action should’ve been stronger, others won’t.”

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