Who’s right in the NRL referees argument?

craig3 Roar Rookie

By craig3, craig3 is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    With all of the current conjecture of refereeing decisions and their impact on the result on the outcome of a game in rugby league I would like to offer something for spectators of the sport, and others to ponder.

    Let’s take a look at the four major football codes in Australia: rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules and the round ball, in no particular order – and hopefully an argument-diffusing title for the latter.

    In these four codes there is only one where the attacking team is guaranteed possession for a predetermined period if they are error free during this period. Rugby league.

    The shrill of the whistle has a far greater impact in this code than others. The other three codes do not play to a set. An infringement determined to be worthy of a penalty at the discretion of one of the two whistleblowers simultaneously controlling the game and enforcing whatever the governing body class as the current blight on the code as outlined in the most recent press release do have a bearing on the momentum and direction of a game. 

    The following are some examples of a penalty or free in the four codes and I am sure some will see it differently to me as more attention is paid to league which is the object of the conversation.

    Penalties or frees
    Rugby league: A chance to get off your line and relieve defensive pressure that you’ve most likely just sustained and are now combatting. A chance to be within an attacking position at the end of your set.

    Time for your team to take a breath and re-establish the pace of the game. A crack at the sticks for the two in a close game. Position. Position. Position.

    Rugby union: If you are anywhere in your attacking half take a shot at the sticks and most likely come away with three points. Lineout, scrum, tap, not guaranteed possession.

    Australian rules: Could be in the other team’s possession the moment you bring the ball back into play.

    Fussball: Could be in the other teams possession the moment you bring the ball back into play.

    Now let’s not forget why we want possession. To score more points than the other team. Scrutiny over scoring is different but integral to each code. The number of scoring opportunities of a side differ between the codes which is why such emphasis has been placed on the correct verdict on these opportunities.

    Again I am sure some will see it differently but the following has created the frustration to this piece being written.

    Scoring adjudication
    Rugby league: Was it a forward pass? Was the marker interfered with? Were the kick-chasers onside?

    If they were offside did they impact the play? Was it grounded within the in goal? Were  the defenders obstructed?

    Did the attacking player ground the ball clearly? Was he held up? Was there separation? Was it grounded with the torso or was that the sub coccles?

    If your effort of putting the ball down over the line has the ticked the correct yes, no and maybes, then congratulations, KFC’s latest promotional tool will let you know you scored a try!

    Paul Gallen Cronulla Sharks NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Rugby union: Much less confusing due to possession never being guaranteed to be yours.

    Aussie rules: Did it go through the big ones without someone touching it? That’s a goal. Hit the big ones, that’s a point. Through the little ones on the side that’s a point. 

    Sosha: Were you onside. Yep. Ball went past the line in the goal box. Yep. That’s a goal.

    Is there a possibility that in the pursuit of increasing the speed of the game we all wanted that no consideration was given as how to referee it at this pace. I have seen articles and comments coming from Rookies, Pros and Gurus from the weekend’s finals saying that the controversial decisions are all part of the game, 5-/50 decisions, play to the whistle etc, and I find them to be quite frustrating.

    I have always believed to play to the whistle, it would help if we knew what the rules were and had confidence in them consistently being adhered to.

    Many comments on these articles have chastised Shane Flanagan for his actions having a list of gripes which has been countered by listing just as many in the Cowboys favour.

    Take the mousetrap of your finger, it got you. You just listed twice as many controversial decisions he listed and still say the game’s alright. If that is part of the product it’s wearing thin.

    Crowd numbers are down, and general interest is ambivalent.

    If it is the game you love and the grey area that comes with it is part and parcel so be it. It is a game I supported for a long time and enjoyed but the enjoyment is turning to bewilderment and frustration.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • September 13th 2017 @ 3:16pm
      Big Daddy said | September 13th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

      If you want to make a post comparing the codes at least have the decency to take it seriously.
      I am not a soccer fan but you do yourself a disservice by bagging it with stupid names.

    • September 13th 2017 @ 6:53pm
      Wild Eagle said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

      I’ve settled down a bit in the last few days but my views on some crucial issues haven’t changed.

      One thing that doesn’t worry me too much but is so farcical is the good old playing the ball and attempting to use your foot.
      It’s almost Monty Python watching it and some players try to use their foot and run the risk of stuffing it up and thus being disadvantaged compared to those who don’t even pretend to try.

      I wonder if and when they penalise JWH and whether he is warned in advance? I saw one of his play the balls the other day and it was so quick and efficient I can only conclude he has an advantage.

      How could any fan go into the next few games and not be concerned about forward passes?
      I don’t care now but the Eagles lost to the Tigers ln the last play of the game to a forward pass.

      What have they done since a Maloney forward pass ruined Manly’s GF in 2013? You mainly hear cliches about the best team won anyway and grow up and blah blah blah.

      The coach Toovey also played in a GF with a clear forward pass try and a seventh tackle try but apparently if he complained the solution would be to grow up. ( he’s as tall as he is going to get)

      Storm or Parra or Rooters fans don’t be concerned if a forward pass costs you a fair shot at the title as you will only be imagining things.

      Solution – The bunker must rule on forward passes, they will get way more correct than a Ref who I don’t blame in his difficult role.

      • Roar Guru

        September 13th 2017 @ 7:08pm
        Rellum said | September 13th 2017 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

        I agree with you on the play the balls and the forwards passes. Both have crept into the game again this year. Those are valid comments on general trends in the game as a whole.

        The play the ball thing seems to be a three year cycle and it is about time the refs got back to cracking down on it. I am sure we will see it in the pre-season.

        Forward passes called and not called seem to be much more than previous years, stats people can back me up on that or shoot me down. I assume it is the set plays with flat passing testing what the limits are. The bunker can’t rule on that as it has been shown time and again the camera does not see the reality. I think maybe treating flat passes as illegal might held get it under control. Pass needs to be backwards, clearly so.

        • September 13th 2017 @ 8:38pm
          Wild Eagle said | September 13th 2017 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

          I am unaware of this issue where the bunker can’t tell due to the camera not seeing reality. I genuinely have missed it. I thought they used it well in union?

          Not mocking you but when we all say a pass is forward as in the Maloney 2013 GF are we wrong and all the commentators?

          • Roar Guru

            September 13th 2017 @ 8:49pm
            Rellum said | September 13th 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

            I am sure the Video can pick up super blatant ones but their is too much grey area around forward passes, momentum of the player, did it come forward out of the hands and drift forward, all that stuff. The refs on the field are just as likely to get it right than the camera. Most forward passes are not blatant.

            Edit, yes the camera angles can be deceiving.

            • September 13th 2017 @ 10:51pm
              Wild Eagle said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

              Did you see the Wallabies try against the all Blacks? It looked bizarrely forward but the replay showed it to be not so.

              I am absolutely sure that the course of two Sea Eagles GF is altered dramatically by a bunker which can rule on a forward pass.

              The final score and who wins I don’t know but it gives us a chance in one and a big chance in the other. Personally that is all I’m after.

              Surely they have to do something?

    • September 13th 2017 @ 7:07pm
      craig3 said | September 13th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

      Big Daddy, Bagging it with stupid names? Fussball= German for association football. Sosha= Short for association football, where the name soccer comes from. As mentioned at the start I was trying to avoid the call it football/call it soccer conversation which I have inadvertently started. Lesson learnt. Thanks for the tip.

    • September 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm
      craig3 said | September 13th 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

      Put the Maloney binning to the side for the moment and the obstruction of kick chasers is well and truly a grey area this year. Some are deemed a professional foul and others are play on. If you obstruct a chaser on the way to the ball it is a penalty. If you do it when that player is a chance of scoring a try it is a professional foul and the bin should be used.The Oscar worthy performance of some players add another shade of grey to it but there is 2 refs and two touchjudges, surely an indiscretion can be picked up by one of them .

      • Roar Rookie

        September 13th 2017 @ 7:59pm
        Matthew Pearce said | September 13th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

        The grey area there is the new clarification that it’s only an indiscretion if you deliberately change your line to take out a chaser. There was a tweak sneaked in that says it’s not a penalty if you haven’t changed your line.

        Understandably frustrating and a pretty rubbish rule change, but that’s how it is (hopefully not for much longer). Agree with your points on how it should be policed, if it was back to this way it’d be far less controversial.

    • September 13th 2017 @ 9:21pm
      craig3 said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the clarification there Matt, seems like Maloney ticked all the boxes and earned the first dibs on the halftime oranges. Cronulla’s outlook on it seems incorrect there.As far as the coaches rant and being hung out as a pariah for not agreeing with a list of decisions I am sure he is not Robinson Crusoe with his thoughts but has said enough is enough. I even read a Guru’s comment on here saying it’s not what he said it’s how he said it. Really? Facts are facts however they are presented. It’s past the point of concern. It might be an idea after too many lemonades but why don’t they get some QCup and Jim Beam Cup refs in that have never had contact with NRL refereeing coaches and give them a shot. There will be an adjustment period to the teams that play to the current set of inforcements as to those that play to the rule book they have always known but it would be interesting

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