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.
'HIT A NERVE': Cameron Munster in tetchy exchange with Gorden Tallis
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.
I think Mick Ennis’ theory on the FoxLeague call is probably the most likely - the touch judge could not keep up with Reece Walsh and was metres behind the play and could not see his hands for the pass.
With that said, absolutely no excuse for that call to be missed. https://t.co/iygEl2G7NW
— Adam Pace (@muzza_316) September 23, 2023
That’s the worst bit of refereeing I’ve ever seen. I just laughed when it happened live. How the hell did they miss those??? Wahs fans every right to be livid #nrl #nrlbroncoswarriors https://t.co/UpRihjJytx
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) September 23, 2023
— Mike (@PantherMike182) September 23, 2023
Quarterback Reece Walsh leads the Broncos to yet another impressive victory and guides Brisbane into SuperBowl LVIII.#NRLBroncosWarriors
— SuperCoach Brain 🧠 (@SC_Brain) September 23, 2023
Do my eyes deceive me or was that pass from Reece Walsh at least 5 metres forward?!
— Meat Axe (@macktruck81) September 23, 2023
— Hudson Young Grubber (@RJCorrigan) September 23, 2023
— Adam Hayward (@AdzSportz) September 23, 2023
— Gary Dover (@gazdot) September 23, 2023
Ok guys just because Reece Walsh passes a ball at Suncorp and it’s caught at Cbus Stadium on the GC doesn’t make it a forward pass #NRLBroncosWarriors
— These Daves (@TheseDaves1) September 23, 2023
Don’t forget to put your clocks forward tonight, like a Reece Walsh pass, about an hour forward
— Leo Molloy (@LeoMolloyNZ) September 23, 2023
No excuse for that forward pass from Reece Walsh to not be called, it’s an nrl prelim final. Be better. #nrl
— Jon Tuxworth (@Tuxy81) September 23, 2023
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.
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.”
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.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.