No season of professional sport is free from controversy, but when it’s avoidable controversy then something must be done. In the case of rugby league, it appears the game’s power brokers have woken up.
Two of the major problems that constantly reared their ugly heads during the 2012 season were related to the video ref and representative eligibility.
Two instances of video ref getting it horribly wrong in crucial games made the NRL look like somewhat of a laughing stock: Greg Inglis’ try in State of Origin one and Kieren Foran’s clear knock on against the Cowboys in the semi-finals.
As much as Bill Harrigan was able to put Inglis’ game securing try in slow motion, and defend his video referee on the night, at the end of the day it looked like a knock on, and should have been given.
As for Foran’s effort, North Queensland players and supporters are unlikely to forget or forgive this howler until their team has lifted the premiership trophy.
Benefit of the doubt seems a blight on the game, and I like many supporters am happy this rule has been changed.
When talk arose of James Tamou being selected to play in the annual ANZAC Test match this year, curiosity followed. How can a guy who seems as Kiwi as a hangi be selected to play for Australia, particularly as he had been part of New Zealand squads in the past?
Although his reasoning added up and was well within the rules, Tamou playing for Australia and NSW didn’t feel quite right.
This selection more than the likes of Tonie Carroll and Brad Thorn in the past seemed to cause the most public outcry. It was as plain as day that Tamou should be playing for the Kiwi’s, and I am glad that Sam Kasiano has decided to choose the black jersey, because that is where he belongs.
The fact that a rule has been put in place that a player must have lived in his home state before the age of 13 does bring some clarity forward on this subject, and hopefully this strengthens the New Zealand team, as it is great for the sport if the international game is competitive.
Some might argue that if the Australian captain can lead the team in a rendition of the Queensland Origin victory song, then this probably tells us how serious our stars take representing their country.
However now that New Zealand youngsters with dreams of playing Origin are now potentially shot, we should see some passionate Tests in years to come.