After another controversial Friday night in the National Rugby League, pressure continues to rise on the officials of the game. Its time the officials and their superiors stood up and answered for their mistakes.
Wests Tigers went down 23-22 to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a controversial showdown at ANZ Stadium which may cost the Tigers a spot in the Finals.
Players and coaches are accountable for their mistakes. Why aren’t the officials?
Even more disturbing for rugby league fans is the fear that runs through a referee’s body when the game is on the line and a decision is needed on the field. Instead of making a call, they simply let it go in case it decides the game.
Well unfortunately for the boys in pink, by not making a call, they are inadvertently deciding the game anyway.
In the 78th minute of the clash at Suncorp Stadium on Friday between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm, Corey Parker went to the line and was met by three Storm defenders.
The veteran backrower attempted an offload in traffic and basically palmed the ball into Kevin Proctor’s chest. Proctor looked straight up at the referee and motioned that Parker had lost possession before wrapping his arms around the ball. Proctor then let go off it in fear he would give away a penalty for a strip. Parker regained the ball and the game went on.
The Broncos were down 19-18 and forty metres from the Storm tryline. If this had happened in the opening set of the game, the referee would have made a call.
Whether it was a strip or play on for the Storm, at least the referee made a call.
If it was a strip, Broncos would have had a penalty shot at goal to win the game.
The fact is, by not wanting to cost one team victory by making a call, they cost the Broncos the game anyway. The officials didn’t even call six again to Brisbane when it was clear for all to see that Proctor had played at the ball.
On an educational night, the benefit of the doubt rule was in the headlines too.
In Brisbane, Melbourne’s Sisa Waqa was awarded a try when it obviously looked like he lost the ball.
Down in Sydney, benefit of the doubt wasn’t even considered despite it appearing like Robbie Farah grounded the ball at some point after crossing the tryline for the Tigers.
At first referee Jarrod Maxwell called held up. Farah was adamant he scored and the referee went to the video referee. Video ref Sean Hampstead didn’t make a call either and sent it back to Maxwell.
What is the point of the video referee than?
The on-field referee made a call, changed it and sent it to someone else. That someone else looked at it six times and sent it back to the guy who didn’t want to make a call in the first place.
Referees are scared and amateurish at best. They’ve been coached into submission by their superiors and treated like an endangered species for so long that they‘re scared to do anything.
The worst thing to happen to referees was going fulltime.