ARL have the solution, now use it
It is not as much fun at the pub when the boys want to talk about the refs and not Benny Barba or T Rex. The fact is the refs are not that bad, it is the complex rules that are almost impossible for any one man to evaluate.
Rugby league is such a fast moving game and coaches have made an art of exploiting the rules to find any loophole that will give their team an edge. The pressure on the on-field ref or a video ref is monumental.
Mistakes will be made.
Referees boss Bill Harrigan is on the right track by adding another set of eyes to the video ref’s box, but in 2012 this is just a short sighted band aid fix.
ARL Commission Chairman John Grant made his millions from the Information Technology world and he should be the first to realise that the refereeing overall strategy today is putting brawn in front of brains.
Rugby league is a multi-billion dollar industry, yet still using “old hat” technology.
The ARL already have everything in place to fix the problem but they continue to fly a single video ref all over the country (and NZ) to press a red or green button, often when he is not certain if he is correct.
ARL headquarters at Rugby League Central in Moore Park should be the new Video Refs box.
It would be easy for three refs to watch each game from Moore Park. Instant decisions can be made with confidence.
The button could be linked to the ground and not only would we get the correct decisions 99% of the time, but they would be quicker. Not that cost is an issue here, but a small fortune would also be saved in travel and accommodation.
The quality of the referees is as good now as it has ever been, the problem is in understanding some of the deep seated rules and making quick and correct decisions.
This task is clearly not possible for any single individual and a panel of Video Refs at RLC would solve the problem.
The panel should consist of three so a consensus can always be reached.
When we have controversial decisions like an obstruction, a three man panel would be able to make a quick and correct call based on consensus.
The positive with the rules of rugby league as opposed to rugby union is that they are clear. A three man panel will always be able to get the decision correct, where a single ref may not.
I can watch rugby union and have no idea why the ref has blown his whistle, especially a scum penalty.
Right or wrong, at least we know in what the penalty is for in league. All the Commission need to do now is to put measures in place so that we get the correct decision all the time.
It’s called brains over brawn.