The weekend’s match between the Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters highlighted the issue must hurting the game of rugby league, and consequently turning fans away.
On Saturday night, the Panthers were holding onto a slim 12-10 lead with just under ten minutes to go, before a Michael Gordon try in the 73rd minute gave the Roosters the lead that eventually saw them win.
However, the try came after a forward pass from Latrell Mitchell to winger Daniel Tupou who then put the kick through for Gordon to score.
NRL Referees Boss Tony Archer came out the next day and admitted the referees got this decision wrong. However, this is little consolation for the Panthers, who still walk away from the match with no competition points.
This sort of issue has plagued the NRL; too many times has a decision by the referee directly affected the result of a match. There must be consequences for the referees involved, it isn’t enough for the NRL to admit a mistake, only for the same referees to make the same mistake down the track.
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Imagine if that decision was made in a grand final. Imagine if the two points that Penrith presumably would have received is the difference between them making the top eight or not. The referees need to be held accountable – if a player performs poorly, they are dropped. It should be the same for the referees.
The inconsistency between games is frustrating as well. Ask two people the definition of the obstruction rule and you are almost guaranteed to get different answers. On multiple occasions tries have been disallowed for an obstruction, then awarded the next week in the same situation.
The introduction of the Bunker was meant to add consistency from week to week, however it has not eventuated. Added to that, more than half of potential tries being sent upstairs only aggravates fans more.
Furthermore, the amount of penalties blown in a game does not make for exciting footy. Already this season, 323 penalties have been conceded. That is an average of 13.5 per game, which results in a stoppage approximately every six minutes. That does not make for exciting footy.
If the NRL wants to keep their fans, changes must be made.