NRL rejects Morris claim after ‘knock-on’ fury

The NRL has rejected Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris' claim that "under 7s would know" Blake Ferguson knocked it on late in Parramatta's win over the Sharks, backing the call made by referee Ben Cummins.

The Eels winger was involved in a couple of sticky situations that could have cost his side dearly but was bailed out by the referee with a crucial call late in the game when he fumbled the ball close to his own line.

A pass to the Origin winger slipped through his hands in the wet conditions but was recovered by Dylan Brown, who then made a long dash before being brought down. The Sharks seemed taken aback by the play-on call, which played a role in Brown finding space.

Sharks v Eels Round 13: Presser - John Morris

The Eels won a scrum against the feed in the next sequence, converting a penalty moments later to seal the win.

Morris was dumbfounded about the call when asked about it after the match.

"It can't go back. Blake is running onto the ball, touches the ball. That's a knock on," he said.

"Under 7s watching that game of football know that's a knock on. It was clearly a knock on."

NRL head of football Graham Annesley denied Morris' claim, suggesting the evidence pointed to a knock back.

"I think the odds are the referee's got this 100 per cent right," Annesley told journalists during his weekly briefing on Monday afternoon.

"Given the conditions, given what's on video, I'm not going to come out and say that's a knock-on.

"He's tried to catch it, it's gone through his hands, behind his head and onto the ground. For it to be a knock-on you actually have to propel the ball forward towards your opponents' goal-line."

Annesley said he understood Morris' frustration but added that by the definition of the rules, he had no case.

"We can argue and take different points of view on this, whether it was a knock on or knock back," he said. "I've been critical in the past if referees are too quick to call a knock on.

"In this case If I was coaching I would hope that would be called a knock on. I'm happy to be critical of referees but it's very difficult to be critical of a knock back (call) when it's a knock back."

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