The Canberra Raiders face a possible five-figure fine for illegally activating their 18th man in the loss to St George Illawarra, with the club to accept whatever sanction the NRL imposes.
Both the Raiders and NRL ground staff in charge of the 22-20 loss to the Dragons at Wollongong on Saturday have put submissions into the NRL detailing what happened just before kick-off in the second half.
The Raiders mistakenly activated 18th man Xavier Savage after centre Sebastian Kris was ruled out for the rest of the game.
Kris copped a head knock from Dragons second-rower Jack Bird, who was put on report.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart thought that meant he could bring Savage into the game, for his NRL debut, but didn't realise Bird had to either be sin binned or sent off - and not just put on report - to be able to use his 18th man.
Bird was cleared by the match review committee on Sunday, as was Raiders lock Joe Tapine, but Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa faced up to four weeks on the sideline for a shoulder charge on Raiders co-captain Elliott Whitehead.
Because the 18th man was only introduced after round four in April, there's no precedent for the mistake - although the Brisbane Broncos were fined $75,000 for having 14 players on the field in 2004.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner said they would accept any sanctions given it was their mistake.
"It remains to be seen what will transpire, but we'll co-operate with the NRL and accept any ruling," Furner said.
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A final decision was expected to be made at the NRL's weekly round review on Monday, when they routinely go through all the games.
"The rules are clear that an 18th man can only be activated if a player is sin binned or sent off - or a team has three failed HIAs," an NRL spokesperson said on Saturday night.
"The Raiders incorrectly activated the 18th man at the beginning of the second half."
Stuart was quick to put his hand up for the mistake and was thankful they hadn't won - and then faced the possibility of losing the two premiership points.
Savage played just 12 minutes before he was brought off when the mistake was realised.
When asked about the rule, the Raiders coach felt it should be adjusted to include foul play that led to a report as well as those that were given their marching orders.
"If you want to look at a broader issue that's how the rule should be," Stuart said.
"When you lose a player to foul play you should be allowed to enact your 18th man. But again, it was an error and I apologise."
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