NRL head of football Graham Annesley personally phoned North Queensland CEO Jeff Reibel to admit his whistleblowers got a crucial call wrong, which cost them during their golden point loss to the Wests Tigers.
Annesley said senior referee Ben Cummins erred in awarding Ryan Matterson a first-half try in the Cowboys 27-26 loss in Townsville on Friday night after missing an Esan Marsters knock on in the lead up.
"We believe the wrong decision was made," Annesley said.
"It's been a couple of weeks in a row that we've had incidents in Cowboys games, which we regret and we wish they hadn't."
Afterwards, Cowboys coach Paul Green fumed at the decision, demanding his players be given an explanation.
Annesley said Cummins should have referred the incident to the bunker and a no try given.
"I have spoken to their CEO and that question was asked, what was the explanation?" Annesley said.
"And that explanation was the referee felt, from what he saw, that the Wests Tigers player didn't touch the ball.
"In a contest where there are arms in the air, probably 99 times out of 100 they will go to the video referee. But he clearly felt there was no touch.
"Was it a wise decision given there was a contest for the ball? No. Probably not."
Annesley said Cummins was unlikely to be demoted when the NRL resumes following the representative round break.
Green was also angered after Michael Chee-Kam was awarded a penalty try with six minutes remaining which allowed the Tigers to go two points ahead, before Jake Clifford sent the match into golden point with a penalty goal.
The bunker awarded the penalty try after the Tigers centre was collected high by Jordan Kahu and he spilled the ball over the line.
Under NRL rules, a penalty try can be awarded if an official believes "in his opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team".
And Annesley said he had no issue with the bunker's call.
"They come down to personal opinion," Annesley said.
"In this case, we're not in a position to say the video referee made the wrong decision.
"He formed a view that a try would have been scored if he had not been hit high."
© AAP 2019