Who’s wrong, the video ref or the rules?
The late great rugby league player and commentator Rex Mossop had a few pet hates. Having the male genitalia shoved down his throat – figuratively speaking – was one.
Soft tries was another.
“And that’s what I call a soft try, which is a try that shouldn’t have been scored,” was a familiar cry from The Moose.
“Show pony” players who grounded the ball in a dangerous manner was yet another. Mossop was of the opinion that any player who put the ball down casually without diving onto the turf with ball clutched safely to chest was risking having the ball dislodged and having a try disallowed.
Which means in the case of Greg Inglis and Origin 1, The Moose would have had at least two irons of discontent in that particular fire.
Let’s face it – the decision to award Inglis a try did not in the final wash change the ultimate result.
But it was the worst rugby league decision given since the introduction of video referees to do away with such issues.
Funnily enough, the genesis for the video ref may well have come from a game in 1990 between Brisbane and Manly at Lang Park, which the Broncos won 14-12 and which left The Moose apoplectic (his word that day) due to the awarding of a try to Brisbane which was clearly shown on replay to be a bounce ball.
Not long after that, in-goal referees were trialled to eliminate or limit such errors.
The in-goal Bengal Lancers were ultimately a stepping stone to the video ref.
But back to that decision. I called it the ‘worst’ decision but a fair proportion of the rugby league officiating world have come out in support of Sean Hampstead and declared that according to the rules, the decision was correct, spot on, tip top. Huh?
Players, on the other hand, thought it was a joke. The likes of Mat Rogers, Kurt Gidley, Chris Lawrence and James Maloney took to Twitter to voice their disagreement with the decision.
Rogers, with maroon blood coursing through his NSW veins said, “That was a joke that try being awarded.”
James Maloney declared, “That video ref was taking the p***!”
So does this mean the players are unaware of the rules regarding knock-ons, along with most of the rugby league viewing public, the Channel Nine commentary team, Bill Harrigan (depending on whether he’s talking to Trent Barrett or not) and NSW skipper Paul Gallen, who eloquently expressed his view to Matt Cecchin, Ben Cummins and a rather huge television audience without the aid of a seven-second delay?
I wasn’t so crash hot at high school science but the physics of the incident make it clear that the last thing to be in contact with the ball before it left Inglis’s hands were… Inglis’s hands.
And given the ball was “propelled towards the opponents goal or dead-ball line no matter which way the player is facing” (with thanks to Rex again), that would seem to suggest a knock on.
Oh, but Robbie Farah ‘deliberately’ played at the ball, knocking it out of Inglis’s grasp. So does that mean that ‘accidental’ contact with the ball is a different kettle of fish?
In many instances of effecting try-saving tackles, isn’t the purpose to dislodge the ball?
This was different simply because it was Farah’s foot? I’m more confused than ever.
Perhaps the reason for having video refs is now clear. Rugby league’s formerly straightforward rules have become too complicated for the naked eye to adjudicate on.
Or maybe, if Greg Inglis went to the Rex Mossop school of finishing and clutched that precious oval pill to his chest and dived over the line, we wouldn’t all be up in arms about the whole thing.
Which, when I think about it, would be pretty boring.