Reece Walsh caught up in baffling referee drama as Warriors dudded against Broncos

Suncorp Stadium was left bewildered after the referees let the play continue.

Reece Walsh throws a forward pass and Walsh smiles.
A Reece Walsh (pictured right) forward pass in the build-up to a try has left Warriors fans fuming in the NRL preliminary final. (Images: Fox Sports/Getty Images)

Warriors fans have been left fuming after a Reece Walsh pass clearly went forward in the build-up to a try, which all but ended the New Zealand outfits chances of a comeback in the NRL preliminary final. Walsh was at his electric best against the Warriors as the Broncos demolished the visitors 42-12 at Suncorp Stadium to set up a blockbuster clash with the Panthers in the grand final.

However, NRL fans will feel the Warriors were hard done by after a blatant forward pass cost them a try at 24-12. Walsh broke the line using his scintillating speed to skip past the Warriors defender.

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When the fullback looked to pass back on the inside, his pass to Selwyn Cobbo. Amazingly, Cobbo then threw it back on the inside Jordan Riki with his pass also questionably forward.

“Walsh has thrown it forward a mile, it’s gone forward more than a mile and Brisbane have run away and scored,” Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss said. Suncorp stadium didn't erupt as it would with many fans clearly waiting for referee Gerard Sutton to call the play back.

Steve 'Blocker' Roach commented that there could have been two forward passes in the sequence of play with the referees missing a 'howler'. However, much to the shock of everyone, the try was awarded. The bunker can't intervene on forward pass plays. Fans were left fuming at the play with the Warriors already facing an uphill battle to advance to the NRL grand final.

Michael Ennis offered a rather hilarious explanation to why the touch line referee didn't rule on the forward pass during play. “This might sound ridiculous but this is the speed of Reece Walsh that the actual touch judge couldn’t keep up with him, this was two metres forward, blatantly forward,” Ennis added.

“The touch judge fell two or three metres off the pace, he just couldn’t keep himself in line with Walsh and it’s an absolute howler.” While the forward pass was a brutal call for the Warriors, the Broncos were impressive on Saturday night and will now take on the Panthers in the NRL grand final.

Jordan Riki celebrates.
Jordan Riki (pictured) scored after a Reece Walsh forward pass. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Warriors coach all class after Reece Walsh forward pass

While fans were left mocking the situation, Warriors coach Andrew Webster was all class in his post-match press conference. WHen asked about the forward pass and whether it decided the contest, Webster was adamant.

“No, certainly not,” he added. “The forward pass was so wrong it wasn’t funny. But at the end of the day, they made a linebreak, they made a linebreak, we allowed the linebreak, and the forward pass comes off the back of that.

“We weren’t defending well during that period. The forward pass was so wrong, but we’re not crying over that. It certainly didn’t cost us the game.”

Reads 'NRL Finals 2023' with the cut out images of three players throwing a football - Cameron Munster, Nathan Cleary and Reece Walsh, with a backdrop of a football stadium.
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Webster reflected on the season with the Warriors proving to be the surprise package of 2023 having made the preliminary final and captured the hearts of a nation in the process. “It’s hard, it’s really hard,” Webster said. “But the thing for me on the referees and the decisions this year, we’ve got to give ourselves the opportunity to win and we’ve got to take the referees out of it.

“Those things are hard. Look, the boys are trying hard and they get frustrated by those decisions. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to take some ownership of the way we could have done things better. I’m going to stay solid by that all year, that’s been our motto.”

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