Video referee dropped over Kieran Foran obstruction howler

The video referee at the centre of the Kieran Foran obstruction clanger has been dropped after NRL officials admitted the match-changing decision was incorrect.

As revealed by Fairfax Media on Sunday, Paul Mellor was facing the axe, as the main responsibility for obstruction calls fall upon the ex-footballer in the video referee's box. His colleague, Bernard Sutton, has been appointed to the Broncos-Rabbitohs and Bulldogs-Knights fixtures.

Referees' boss Tony Archer said he had "real questions" over the decision on Saturday and a full review of the match confirmed his suspicions.

The NRL's head of football, Todd Greenberg, conceded the call which cost North Queensland was incorrect.

"Naturally, when referees use their discretion there will be debate from time to time," Greenberg said.

"But the coaches and players know this is the rule and it will continue to be applied this way by the referees."

However, Greenberg defended the decision to deny Melbourne's Sisa Waqa a try in his side's loss to Canberra.

“This was a really tough call to make but the match officials got it exactly right,” he said.

“The games are so close and so exciting at the moment that every call is being closely scrutinised.

“What we are finding is that some match officials who are being criticised for their calls are actually getting them right.”

The obstruction rule, and its interpretations, threatened to overshadow an Easter weekend of football which drew record crowds for the Bulldogs-Rabbitohs and Eels-Tigers blockbusters. The losing coaches from those fixtures voiced their frustration at perceived inconsistencies in relation to obstruction.

However, Greenberg said the rule remained the same as it has for the past 12 months – that a penalty will be awarded if a defending player is impeded from making a tackle and/or the defensive line is disadvantaged.

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