CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Kobe Hetherington of the Broncos leaves the field after being sent off during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Brisbane Broncos at GIO Stadium, on June 12, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The NRL's head of football Graham Annesley has admitted the officials were wrong to award Kobe Hetherington a try early in the Brisbane Broncos eventual win over the Newcastle Knights on Saturday afternoon.

While the game was a dead rubber in the grand scheme of things, with the Broncos unable to make the finals and the Knights glued to seventh position, Hetherington's try in the fifth minute saw him in a downtown position.

It was only weeks ago the officials were applauded for a downtown penalty being awarded against South Sydney Rabbitohs' forward Mark Nicholls.

Incredibly, Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett was "dumbfounded" by the rarely used penalty, and Annesley said he wasn't surprised players and coaches didn't know the rules.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Wayne Bennett head coach of the Rabbitohs looks on prior to the round 12 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on May 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Hetherington's fifth-minute try on Saturday however saw him ahead of the play the ball when a kick was put through by Anthony Milford. Hetherington ended up being the one to score the try, yet the NRL's own rules state players can not be brought back on side until the play is completed in the event of being called downtown.

Annesley said Hetherington's actions constituted a clear downtown.

"The play the ball is probably four to five metres from the 30-metre line and you can see Hetherington in between the dummy half and first receiver," Annesley said.

"By the time the ball hits the boot, you can see there that he is only one to two metres from the 30-metre line.

"He follows the play so he can't be placed onside. It has to be the next play the ball at least until he can be placed back onside.

"That was missed by the officials. He was called as being offside, so the touch judges knew that he was in front of the kicker, but of course, the juggle of the ball, they decided that brought him back onside.

"The officials missed it and that try should have been disallowed."

Annesley however said that it should have been picked up by the on-field officials, before admitting the bunker could also have been involved as it was a try-scoring opportunity.

"The one a couple of weeks ago was picked up by the officials. The bunker doesn't get involved in general play without the play stopping. The touch judges are generally watching, so this was a miss by the on-field officials rather than the bunker.

"Technically they could have gone back that far. They were more concerned about whether it was a knock on from the contest for the ball. In any case, it should be the on-field officials looking for this sort of thing because the bunker can't review it unless a try has been scored."