Should the Bunker be allowed to rule on forward passes?

Mr X Roar Guru

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    Only a penalty goal separated the Panthers and Roosters with just eight minutes to play, when Luke Keary scooted across the field, linking up with Latrell Mitchell, who found space out wide. Then came that pass.

    And we know the rest.

    A week earlier, the NRL had come under scrutiny for an even worse decision, when Jordan Kahu crossed to level things up at Suncorp Stadium against the Cowboys, off what was described by many outraged social media users as a “Tom Brady special” from James Roberts.

    Yet, this time, the Panthers were not good enough to make up for referee’s mistake and fell 14-12.

    Only hours after the game, NRL Referees’ boss, Tony Archer, came out and admitted they had made a mistake. The pass was forward.

    But how was Archer able to conclusively rule this? Surely the Bunker’s technology played some part in accurately proving it? So, should the Bunker rule on forward passes?

    If this $2 million command system has the benefit of multiple camera angles and zoom technology, why can’t it see forward passes, especially those as clear-cut as the one on Saturday night?

    And this is where the debate gets interesting: how can you decide which forward passes are clear cut and which are not? It seems like the fuss just isn’t worth it.

    The main rebuttal against such a change is the difficulty of ruling forward passes – you know, the ones that are not as obvious, yet can still have a large bearing on the final result.

    Determining whether a pass is forward is a complicated process. It doesn’t simply involve comparing where the player threw the ball with where it landed, many variables need to be considered, including speed, the spin of the ball, momentum and camera angles.

    Momentum is particularly important. If a player is running forwards, then, obviously the ball is also carrying that forward momentum. Camera angles can also be very deceptive, and trying to get your head around all of this can get confusing, hence how long it takes the Bunker to make the correct call. The Bunker was introduced to save time, not add to it!

    So, even as a Penrith tragic, the system as is has to stay: the Bunker cannot rule on forward passes.

    But I am intrigued to find out what Roarers think. Should the Bunker rule on forward passes?

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