Time to introduce NFL style challenge system
Carolina Panthers defensive end Thomas Keiser (98) chases Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. AP Photo/The Detroit News, Daniel Mears
On the eve of the league’s new reported $1.25 billion television deal, I think the time is upon us for drastic changes to improve the quality of refereeing across the competition.
On a weekly basis, it appears there are a number of critical missed calls that have the potential to completely change the outcome of a game, and alter the remainder of a team’s season.
Every round, it seems that players’ on-field performances are being overshadowed in post-match press conferences by coaches complaining about crucial calls that didn’t go their way.
I think the ARLC needs to step in and make some drastic changes at the end of the year to improve the quality of the officiating for season 2013.
I understand that being a top grade official is no walk in the park. They are only human and are bound to make incorrect calls at times, but I think that something can be done to reduce how frequently they occur.
I believe the need for a challenge system, like the one used in the NFL, where coaches have the power to challenge a play they believe was incorrectly called, needs to be implemented during the off-season to help cut down on officiating errors.
If you’re concerned that this will only take away from the speed of the game, this can be managed by reducing the amount of stoppages and unnecessary trips upstairs throughout the match.
The way I would like to see it work would be that the men in pink would make all the decisions as they do now, but they would not have any direct contact with the man upstairs unless a play was being challenged. The video referee also wouldn’t be able to instruct the on field officials about anything they have missed like a forward pass or late hit.
I would replace the current system with one that would see each team receiving two ‘full challenges’ per game, which enables them to review a try they believe has been incorrectly called. I would put a 90 second time limit in place, and if the video referee can’t definitively rule a try or no try, the call on the field stands, cutting video referee decisions that take up to three or four minutes right out of the game.
Currently referees are too frightened to make a call that could cost a side the game. They would rather just send it upstairs than have their name smeared across the back page the next day.
As for decisions made during play, I would allow each team to have two ‘30 second challenges’ each half, which in the case of a lost ball, forward pass or penalty, a captain can call for a play to be reviewed if they believe the decision was incorrect.
This should stop players staying down injured trying to claim a penalty for a high shot, with the video referees unable to tip off the man on the ground if the on field officials fail to see anything.
Most importantly it should stop players and coaches complaining post-game about dud decisions that altered the result of the game. This new system will put the control in the hands of the coaches, and if they choose to waste their review opportunities early, they only have themselves to blame.
On the eve of the new possible $1.25 billion television deal that the NRL is trying to negotiate, I see this as an added way of the league being able to make more revenue by showing ads in between challenges.
Yes, I hate ads during football just as much as the next fan, but if it secures a better deal for the game, then I’m all for it.
Maybe instead of the NRL wasting the All-Star game with testing pointless rule changes like the power play and the 20/50 kicks that will never make their way into first grade, the league should have been trialling concepts like this that actually have the potential to improve the game.
Although some supporters of the game may question the idea, I believe it will take the pressure off referees, reduce the amount of whining by coaches and players post-match, and has the ability to bolster the new television rights package the NRL is currently trying to put together.
What do you think Roarers? Does concept have any merit or would you rather the NRL stick with the current system?
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