Reactionary ARLC chops tall poppy Harrigan
NRL referees co-coach Bill Harrigan speaks to the media about some of the controversial referee calls during last nights State of Origin during a press conference at Rugby League Central in Sydney, Thursday, May 24, 2012. The NSW Blues lost to Queensland in the first of three State of Origin matches. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
The missing-in-action ARL Commission surfaced yesterday to sack refereeing legend Bill Harrigan as the ref’s coaching boss
Nice to know the ARLC is still operative after their deafening silence over the James Graham biting incident in the grand final, and the Bulldogs’ disgraceful Mad Monday antics.
No better way to come alive than a headline grabbing display of tall poppy chopping.
And by the acting CEO Shane Mattiske no less, with some soppy words of gratitude for a job well done over many years.
But no sign of ARLC boss John Grant, who normally thrives on being in front of a television camera.
Fact: Harrigan has been well below his lofty standards earned as a ref this season, with some howlers in the Origin series, and the NRL rounds.
He lived by one of his great quotes – “If you set your goals and follow them with commitment and dedication you can achieve great results in whatever you choose to do”.
And died from not doing what he has done since 1986, where he became rugby league’s most celebrated and successful referee with 392 first grade games (record), 10 grand finals (record), 21 Origins (record), and 25 Tests (record). His record bears testimony to his commitment and dedication.
So how on earth did Harrigan get it so wrong as the NRL’s referee’s coach that he made at least two shocking decisions during this season’s Origin series, and far more in the NRL competition, that caused him to be sacked yesterday?
If the undisputed very best ref in league history can get it wrong with all the time in the world to view television replay footage, under no pressure, little wonder the current crop of whistlers are so sub-standard.
To keep the record straight, Harrigan’s side-kick Stuart Raper was sacked as well, even though I have never been able to understand why and how he was appointed in the first place.
So both need to be replaced, and it seems as though the ARLC’s intention is just one boss, with the leading contenders Russell Smith, and Steve Clark, both very, very ordinary refs in their day.
If the very best can make mistakes, how can the ARLC expect far lesser lights to do an acceptable job?
The concept of the ARLC is spot on, but the governing body must be more visible, more transparent.
David Gallop was. For a decade Gallop was visible every morning, noon, and night in good days for the code, and bad.
He never shirked anything, but was very quickly out the door by an ungrateful and muscle-flexing Grant, despite four years left on his contract.
Rugby league will rue the day Gallop was gunned down.
And despite his out-of-character brain explosions this winter, showing Bill Harrigan the door will have far-reaching effects, as well.
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