NRL head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley has responded to the conjecture surrounding a key pass from Cameron Smith that led to a crucial try in the Storm’s win over the Rabbitohs.
The Storm were down 16-10 in the second half when Smith threw a pass to Tino Faasuamaleaui to barge over for the match levelling try and Melbourne went on to win 22-16.
The live coverage appeared to show a forward pass, with Brad Fittler leading a chorus of commentators in suggesting it was ‘a metre forward’.
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Annesley rules on Smith pass
NRL: Graham Annesley has showed the definitive angles that show the controversial Steve Smith try assist was not forward.
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“The pass was forward without a doubt,” Fittler said.
“It was a metre forward. That close to the line, the referee has to be on to that.’’
However Annesley moved to show two more angles of the contentious try in the hope of debunking any notion of a blatant forward pass.
“One incident that caused quite a bit of comment was the pass from Cameron Smith at dummyhalf,” Annesley said in his weekly NRL football briefing.
“I’ve said many times that I am reluctant to discuss forward passes because camera angles can be deceiving, but I wanted to show this one.
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“I can see why some people think it is forward and the problem is with forward passes, I can’t give you a definitive answer on whether it is forward or not, but I thought it was worthwhile looking at it and let people make their own minds up.
“I want to show a couple of angles and it does demonstrate that at times camera angles can be deceiving.”
Annesley showed three camera angles from the initial wide shot scene on the coverage to a corner post angle and the mobile camera angle.
While the pass still appears flat at best from the other two angles it looks far less forward than in the initial camera angle during live play.
Controversial Smith pass
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“The first angle we will look at is the one that went to air and it is the wide angle shot taken from back at halfway, Annesley explained.
“Cameron Smith goes to dummyhalf and gives a short pass straight across and the try is scored.
“If you look at the angle taken from the corner camera that Cameron picks the ball up and his hands certainly appear to be heading backwards. So on that angle you would say it looks ok.
“The third angle is taken from a mobile camera on the far side of the field that is in line with the play.
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“The touch judge and the camera are almost directly in line with the play. This shows that it is certainly a flat pass, I’m not suggesting for a moment that it is clearly passed backwards.
“But there is the ball and the two players and I will let people make their own decisions, but what we initially see in some of the coverage of the games, particularly with some camera angles, I don’t think it tells the full story.
“There was a lot of comment about this and I heard some discussion that it was blatantly forward and a metre forward.
“I think these angles don’t support the fact that it was as blatant as it was made out, but ultimately I will let everyone make up their own minds.”
Rabbitohs fans still might feel aggrieved but these angles show that the referees certainly didn’t make a shocking decision by failing to rule a forward pass and it certainly wasn’t as blatant as some suggested.
Originally published asNRL release footage to debunk Smith’s ‘blatant forward pass’ against Rabbitohs
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