It’s time to change bunker rule: Fittler

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    Rugby League legends Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns have called for the NRL to abolish the requirement for referees to make live calls before sending tries to the bunker.

    Just a day after Manly’s controversial 22-10 elimination final loss to Penrith, Fittler and Johns both argued in some instances the bunker should be free to make decisions without having to give the benefit-of-the-doubt to on-field referee calls.

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    Manly coach Trent Barrett was left fuming following Saturday night’s loss at Allianz Stadium, when with scores locked at 10-10, Penrith centre Tyrone Peachey was ruled to not have knocked a ball on in the lead up to a try with six minutes remaining.

    After the on-field call was sent up as a try, the bunker was unable to find conclusive evidence of whether the ball brushed Peachey’s hand as it rebounded between his chest and leg before he dived on it to score.

    And Johns said the system had to change.

    “I think that’s flawed,” Johns told Nine Network’s Sunday Footy Show.

    “(The referee) doesn’t know whether it’s a try or no try.”

    Fittler also called for a similar rule in non-discretionary calls, which involved offsides, handling errors and line-ball calls.

    “For black-and-white tries, they should go to the bunker, and then the bunker makes a decision without the influence of what the referee thinks.”

    Barrett lashed out at the officials after the game, and requested referees boss Tony Archer enter his dressing rooms to explain the decision to his players.

    Archer later defended the bunker’s decision not to overturn the on-field decision of try on a social media video.

    Barrett also took exception to a decision to overturn a Dylan Walker try, after he was ruled to be offside early in the second half.

    Meanwhile Johns took issue with the bunker’s use of slow-motion replays to overturn Manly winger Akuila Uate’ try midway through the second half.

    “In normal speed, it’s a try. But then we look at super slow-mo, it’s a 50-50,” he said

    “But the game isn’t officiated in super slow-mo.”

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