Poor refereeing will make fans walk away
116 Have your say
Queensland player Brent Tate punches NSW player Greg Bird in the head during State of Origin 3 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, July 4, 2012 (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
The best rugby league contest in the world is in danger. Maybe because I am a Blues fan, although I did live in Queensland for seven years and my family are Maroon through and through, I can’t help but find issues with the refereeing in each series.
To me the overriding issue is the level of consistency in interpreting the rules by the current referees. The coaches and players are too far ahead when it comes to inventing tactics that exploit the rules and the refs lack of knowledge and consistency.
The systematic flaunting of the rules and creating of situations that are not specifically governed by a rule and thus cast doubt in the referees’ minds started with Bennett and the Broncos and has been a culture in the Queensland team ever since.
It has spread to Melbourne via Bellamy and the rest of the sides have started to embraced it. They have had to in order to stay competitive.
But Queensland is the master.
It is so rampant now that everyone just assumes they will get away with it , even the refs. There is example after example in every series.
This series was no exception with the Inglis try in game one, down to the stripping of the ball just before half time in game three. The referees obviously found no fault with Brent Tate’s punch and second punch to a defenceless player on the ground. Queensland got the penalty.
It is now so blatant to me that I have lost interest in the best series of rugby league in the world. I never thought I would say this but the AFL is now far more appealing and the NRL should be very worried. The referees and their stupid inconsistent decisions are spoiling the game and will ultimately lead to dwindling numbers and the rise of soccer and Aussie rules.
Now that Gallop is gone, I hope that the new CEO focuses on the rules and interpretations and gets fair-dinkum referees and consistent decisions. The new CEO must allow the game to play out with the best team winning, rather than the most cunning or those prepared to bend the rules. The Australian ethos of a fair go is at risk in the NRL and it’s a disgrace.
The age old principle “Keep It Simple, Stupid” needs to be plastered on the wall at NRL headquarters and the referees training facilities. Now, with two on-field refs and a third in the box we expect better decisions but in fact the calls are worse and the fans are sick of it. Less rules and more consistency is the answer.
Maybe we need international refs for Origin games? At least they are not worried about their jobs or which state they are from.
A back-to-basics approach is needed. Sure, change is never easy. Its possible that more penalties in the first half of the next season will slow the game and disrupt the flow, but teams will get used to consistency and stop the blatant disrespect for the game and the fans.
We need to fix the problems now, or the fans will vote with their feet.
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