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Ed Jackson

Eels skipper seeking clarity on challenges

Eels' skipper Clint Gutherson (left) reckons there's confusion over captain's challenges. (AAP)

Parramatta's Clint Gutherson says he's unsure when and how a captain's challenge can be used in the NRL following the clash with Gold Coast.

The Eels held off a fast-finishing Titans at CBUS Super Stadium to secure a 26-20 win on Saturday but only after the hosts used an apparent loophole in the captain's challenge system to their advantage.

Gold Coast twice deliberately conceded penalties to halt play and use their captain's challenge successfully, firstly to reverse a Jarrod Wallace knock-on call and, in the second instance, to pull up an interference against centre Patrick Herbert during a break.

On both occasions the challenges were upheld and the Titans would go on to score tries in the resulting sets.

Eels skipper Gutherson said he was confused by the situation given he was under the impression it wasn't possible to halt play on purpose to challenge a referee's call.

"It was a bit weird. I was asking because I remember watching the game last week and the ref said to the captain, you can only challenge that last play - the penalty - not the play before which could be a knock-on, might be something else," Gutherson said.

"Obviously it happened twice and pretty crucial, they scored off the back of both of them.

"It's obviously pretty inconsistent."

Referee Peter Gough's decision to allow both challenges did seem to fly in the face of comments made by NRL head of football Graham Annesley at his weekly media briefing last Monday.

"A team can't try to create a stoppage in order to challenge something that has previously been missed," Annesley said.

"Some people will say it doesn't matter as long as we get the right decision in the end but there has to be some parameters, otherwise we would have stoppages to play all the time.

"Once they think they get a decision changed, they would just be coached to give away a penalty so they can go back and challenge the original decision."

Titans coach Justin Holbrook said his players were backing themselves to challenge calls they felt were incorrect but admitted he's not sure what the solution to the issue is.

"It's hard to answer," Holbrook said.

"Look, the easy one is get it right the first time and we're not doing all that stuff but I get it's hard as well. There's only referee out in the middle.

"I don't know what the answer is."

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