The challenges of the NRL challenge system
How will Braith Anasta fit in at the Tigers? (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)
The video challenge system could be a great thing for rugby league, but what should a coach be able to dispute?
Giving coaches the right to challenge tries if the video referee hasn’t already been called into action is obvious, but what other areas of the game should come under scrutiny?
If a player drops a ball and a strip isn’t called or a line-ball pass is ruled forward should a coach be able to ask for a second opinion?
The challenge system will be trialled in the Toyota Cup this season and coaches and captains will be given one challenge per half and another if required in extra time.
The clock will stop for sixty seconds and the video referee will make a call.
Debate has already started on talkback radio about the involvement of the video referee.
One caller to the Big Sports Breakfast program on Sky Sports Radio called for the introduction of video review booths on the sideline.
This would allow the on-field referee who made the call to also judge the incident in the booth like in the American NFL.
It’s a good idea because then the buck stops with him and no excuses can be made about different interpretations between officials.
One quirk that will need to be ironed out is the amount of time between an incident occurring and a challenge taking place.
If a team scores, but an incident has occurred earlier in the set, should that moment come under review or does the challenge need to be instant?
It’s a tough one because if the challenge is instant then the attacking team has its momentum stalled and the defending team gets a sixty second breather. The attacking team gets no benefit from that.
The coach or captain should be given the scope to challenge anything during the set once the set is completed in situations like that.
Otherwise you may start to see challenges launched at crucial points in the game on a tactical basis.
Call me cynical, but coaches will use anything at their disposal to save two competition points.
If done properly it should bring added excitement to an already captivating sport.
It won’t stop the whinging though. By the end of the 2013 season coaches will be complaining about not having enough challenges per match; it’s in their make-up to be unhappy and stressed.
If the Panthers and the NRL can fight about an OAK milk fridge, then a blue about anything is possible.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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