After spending the weeks since the result seeking legal advice and considering their options, the Wests Tigers have given up their intended legal pursuit against the NRL in the wake of the chaotic closing to their clash with the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.
The match was thrown into anarchy when inconsistencies regarding the Captain’s Challenge resulted in the Cowboys stealing victory after the siren against the Tigers. Though the issue was debated hotly and many believed the joint-venture club had recourse for legal action, the Tigers have given up the ghost.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, club chairman Lee Hagipantelis and Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe both met with the NRL last week and were told that the last-second escort penalty awarded to the Cowboys after the bunker had closely examined the events was incorrect, but that the league had no intention of reversing the Round 19 result.
The club leaders went back to the board and informed them of developments, as well as considering the confusion and legality of the captain’s challenge that resulted in the penalty.
The Herald reports that after careful consideration, the club has decided to not push the matter further, leaving the result standing.
The club was under a mountain of pressure at the time following a number of poor results, constant speculation over Luke Brooks and the revelations of a new coaching structure set to take place at the club next year with Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall.
The pressure has since died down on the club with Brooks injured and a win finally secured.
The NRL has since released a statement;
‘The Chairman and CEO of the Wests Tigers met with the Chairman of the ARLC, NRL CEO and NRL Head of Football last week. The meeting was convened to discuss various aspects of the rulings made in the final minutes of the Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys match on 24 July 2022, being the subject of a formal complaint lodged by Wests Tigers with the NRL.
The NRL has acknowledged the concerns raised by the Wests Tigers and in response has put forward its interpretation of the rules which enabled the Captain's Challenge to be made and the subsequent decision of the Bunker match official.
The NRL has already acknowledged that the Bunker official decision of "escort" was incorrect, leading to the erroneous awarding of a penalty in favour of North Queensland Cowboys which ultimately decided the match.
On the matter of whether the Captain's Challenge was permissible in terms of how the rules were drafted, the NRL and the Wests Tigers expressed differing views and interpretation.
The NRL is comfortable with the interpretation that was applied but has acknowledged, in light of the concerns raised by the Wests Tigers, that the rule needs to be reviewed at the end of the season to provide more clarity so as to ensure that there is no future misunderstanding as to the intent and application of the rule. Wests Tigers will be consulted as part of the review, together with other interested Clubs and stakeholders.
The NRL acknowledges the professional and respectful manner in which the representatives of the Wests Tigers have pursued their concerns on behalf of their Club’s members and fans.’