Are you picking the best people for the finals, Mr Archer?

Tim Gore Columnist

By Tim Gore, Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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    While Todd Greenberg is right that we need to grow up in relation to our treatment of referees, the NRL CEO should also be asking serious questions of whistleblowers’ boss Tony Archer in regards to his big last-minute rethink of his officials’ line-ups going into the most crucial matches of the year.

    Who drops their proven first team players on the eve of the finals and replaces them with junior members of the squad?

    Tony Archer, that’s who.

    Archer needs to explain why a number of highly experienced first-grade officials who featured prominently throughout the season all of a sudden didn’t get a gig.

    If we – the passionate fans, players and coaches – have an obligation to treat the officials with respect, does Archer not also have a duty to select the best people to officiate the games?

    You’re damn right he does. That is his key duty.

    There is a distinct pecking order for match-day officials. The lead ref is clearly the boss; they are the ones who do the coin toss with the captains and take a lead role on the field during the game. Then comes the pocket referee; they make a lot of calls during the game but are subjugated by the lead referee.

    Then comes the touch judges. More and more in recent years we’ve seen referees being parachuted onto the sidelines at the expense of full-time touch judges, which no longer seems to be respected as a job with specific skills.

    However, a good touchie is vital. Good speed, great positioning and top-notch live decision making are a must. Apart from speed, the other skills are developed over time, through hard-earned experience.

    So what the hell did Archer do last week and why did he do it?

    Some of his selections for touchies last weekend were consistent. Chris Butler has been pocket ref 16 times in 2017 and a frequent flag waver. Similarly, one-time-referee-but-demoted-to-touchie Brett Suttor clearly seems to have Archer’s favour as he not only gets a flag every week, he also gets one for the State of Origin games, internationals and all the big finals.

    However, they were some noteworthy exclusions from the flag-waving ranks.

    The likes of Jeff Younis, Rickey MacFarlane and Russell Turner have 986 first grade games – including many finals – between them and yet were overlooked for likes of Clayton Sharpe, Michael Wise, Belinda Sleeman, Kasey Badger and Tim Roby, the latter five of whom combined don’t have half the experience of the former trio.

    This isn’t to say that new blood can’t be brought through in the finals – of course it must. But all at once? At what point can that be argued to be good management? Especially at a time of year when the spotlight is squarely on the officials’ performance.

    However, these are not the most baffling cuts that Archer made. That award goes to him leaving out referee Grant Atkins.

    Here are the eight referees that were picked for last weekend:

    Name Age Lead ref 2017 Pocket ref 2017 FTA Games 2017 lead ref Finals Origins/Internationals Overall games
    Matt Cecchin 43 21 0 18 (inc SOO, Test) 19 4/7 294
    Ben Cummins 43 25 1 12 27 14/12 349
    Gerard Sutton 39 21 1 17 (inc SOO) 15 10/9 246
    Ashley Klein 38 25 0 13 7 0/18 437
    Gavin Badger 45 21 5 6 12 0/0 324
    Adam Gee 35 14 10 2 1 0/0 90
    Chris Sutton 32 2 25 0 1 0/0 74
    Alan Shortall 34 0 27 0 5 0/0 222
    Grant Atkins (not selected) 35 25 1 14 1 0/0 109

    One of the key things to consider here is the age of the referees. Officials are lucky to get past 40. Right now we have three in their 40s – Cecchin, Cummins and Badger – with Klein at 38. The clock must be ticking on Gavin Badger at 45, so the younger refs getting finals experience is a necessity.

    Cecchin and Gerard Sutton are the anointed top referees of 2017, with Ben Cummins just behind them. Not only did these two do the coveted Origin games, they did more free-to-air games as the lead referee than any others.

    Free-to-air games are where the exposure is the greatest and the pressure to get the calls right the biggest. Archer puts who he considers his best men into these spots.

    Klein was at the centre of the storm during the Sharks-Cowboys game. However, these stats show that, while he has never done internationals or Origin, he is rated highly by Archer, as this year he was always a lead referee and also controlled 13 free-to-air games.

    Atkins – with 14 free-to-air games as lead ref in 2017 – was another of Archer’s best men.

    But ‘was’ is the optimal word.

    The product of the Penrith referees was graded by the NSWRA in 2007, along with Adam Gee and Chris Sutton. While both of the latter got pocket refereeing appointments last weekend, Atkins missed out completely.

    That is in spite of him doing the third most free-to-air games, after Sutton and Cecchin, and one more than Cummins.

    Combined with him being wheeled out in the Youi commercial as the face of the referees, he appeared to be Archer’s anointed leading candidate when it came to the next generation.

    Then, all of a sudden, Archer has dropped him like a stone. There were no big mistakes, no warnings whatsoever. Welcome to Dumpsville, Grant. Population: you.

    To rub generous amounts of salt into what must be a very raw wound, Archer then picked the bloke that was pocket ref to Atkins 11 times this season (that’s the equal biggest partnership in 2017): Chris Sutton. The same bloke who Atkins was graded with, and the younger brother of Bernard and Gerard Sutton.

    Archer has an interesting history when it comes to appointing Suttons. In spite of not being a full-time whistle blower since 2010, in seasons 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, now video ref Bernard Sutton was parachuted into on-field roles out of the blue. That included the 2016 semi-final between the Raiders and Panthers. Why is anyone’s guess.

    This weekend, all three of the Sutton boys from Coonabarabran have been selected by Archer for the Broncos-Panthers game; Gerard as lead ref, Chris as touchie – a role he has not performed in 2017 – and Bernard as senior review official. Ben Cummins is pocket ref for the other match.

    Given Atkins’ great record in 2017, Archer leaving him out makes a huge statement.

    And for what reason exactly did Archer do it? What did Atkins do wrong? Why wasn’t this clearly talented referee appointed to one of last weekend’s games, when all season he has been plainly ranked as one of Archer’s top four officials? What is the point of prioritising Atkins all season only to cast him aside brutally at finals time? Why were all three of Younis, Macfarlane and Turner, with all their experience, also left out?

    And why, after last week’s fanfare about female officials doing finals matches for the first time, have both Badger and Sleeman have been overlooked for the four touch judge and two reserve touch judge spots this round, two of the three of last week’s eight starting touchies to miss out – with Chris Sutton parachuted in over them.

    Touch Judge Belinda Sleeman

    AAP Image/David Rowland

    Please explain your decisions, Tony.

    If we are going to get all worked up about the coaches attacking the referees, it is only fair we also hold up for examination Archer’s reasoning for selecting the officials.

    If the furore over the weekend has shown us nothing else, it is that we need the best officials controlling the games.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

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    The Crowd Says (82)

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:04am
      Busty McCracken said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      Been a while between sinpsons quotes.. kudos to you Mr Gore, kudos

      • Columnist

        September 14th 2017 @ 8:33am
        Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        I voted for Kodos!

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:07am
      KingCowboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Why can’t we just talk about the footy? I seriously don’t care who is reffing the game. All these articles do is take away oxygen from the games. Tim this is a serious question. Are you more interested in who the ref is going to be instead of the great match ups between Morgs and Norman this week or Milford and young Cleary? Might be time to write about a different sport if that is the case because you might have lost your love for the game!

      • Columnist

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        KC,
        Response from the long suffering Mrs Pork:
        “I dream of him losing his love for the game! Please let that occur! Does (KC) actually think the other article isn’t coming? Does he understand that during September that we set aside ten minutes each day so I see him?”

        From me: It’s coming KC, its coming. I’m leaving no stone unturned to find reasons why the Cows can win this. Promise.
        I assure you my love for the game is zealot like. That is why this must be written.

        The quality of officials is paramount to the game. It is of prime consideration. If Greenberg wants to stop us bagging the refs let’s also make sure that his team is putting the best officials up. I am the trainspotter of statisticians. I keep full records of the officials too. That’s why these anomalies stood out.

        You might think that one official is much like another. You might see no difference between Gommersall and Harrigan or think that it makes a difference.
        I believe it does.
        Archer’s own very consistent selections this season were suddenly turned on their head come finals time with Atkins getting dropped out of the blue.
        To put it in football terms it is sort of like Kodi Nikorima suddenly replacing Milford at 5/8. Nikorima is a great player in his own right but, really, you’re dropping Milford to put him in?
        Fans would be right to be up in arms.
        But here’s the thing: the officials have no fans. None. No one cares about them until they make a contentious decision or non decision. And then they howl.
        But we can’t have it both ways. We either care who gets picked or we don’t even talk about the officials full stop.
        I care about the officials. I follow them closely. I know many. I do not know Grant Atkins very well beyond a few words exchanged at coin tosses. However, I can tell you this: he reffed as lead ref every round in 2017. Only Cummins and Klein did that as well.
        He was also chosen to back up in one round as pocket ref, only Cummins did that as well.
        He did 14 FTA games. Only Cecchin and G Sutton did more – and that is becausr of Origin.
        He had no shockers. There were no big, contentious calls on his watch. No seven tackle sets that shouldn’t have been, no non send offs when it was clear there should have been (Matt Cecchin had that).
        But all of a sudden he gets dropped, out of the blue.
        I’d argue that one of the best three officials and clearly one who was being groomed for the very biggest stage, has been inexplicably dropped.
        I think he is better than many who were selected above him too. I think that risks mistakes being made that could spoil the most vital matches of the year, of the game I dearly love.
        You wanna say you don’t care, That you don’t think it makes a bit of difference. I beg to differ.
        I’m guessing Archer very much appreciates your disinterest in examining the way he performs his vital role. I’m guessing that he wishes everyone held the same opinion as you. And many of you may.
        But he’s plum outta luck with me. I’m watching him very closely and analysing his officials closely, including who gets picked and who doesn’t.
        I will ask questions when I see anomalies like this. I will try to hold him to account for his actions.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 1:18pm
          Oingo Boingo said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          Geez Tim, that’s another article in itself there.

          • Columnist

            September 14th 2017 @ 1:59pm
            Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            Yeah… Some have said that I’m a bit long winded.
            One of my teachers on my report card just wrote “Garrulous and verbose.”
            It was followed with “A” but he was right.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 5:07pm
          Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          Do we know how many 7 tackle sets there are Tim? Surely this can be eradicated.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 7:22am
      Rellum said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

      Is this really an appropriate article at this time, if ever. I would much rather your finals prediction articles Tim even if I am not a fan of purely statistics based picks.

      • Columnist

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
        Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        More appropriate than ever Rellum (see response to KC above), and the other articles are coming. Promise they are.

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 10:12am
          Rellum said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          Sorry mate, but right now I would rather professional journos not talk about refs in any way, even a well thought out comment of ref selections. If just give more fuel for the ref bashers.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 11:06am
            Womblat said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            I haven’t interpreted this article as fuel for bashers at all, but pointing out the lack of transparency in the referee ranks. I’ve been harping on about it all year. They are the secret society of Rugby League and don’t seem to answer to anyone, the media, the fans, even the executive. I’m not a ref basher at all, I was one myself, and I think they do well. But they are an easy target because of the secretive and segregated role they’ve established for themselves, which is helped by the NRLs no criticism policy and shielded processes. It’s stand offish and, well… arrogant.

            Being isolated and insular has it’s advantages, but the flip side is distrust and marginalization from the general populace. The ins and outs of decisions like Archer’s is worth knowing, because fans are also critical stakeholders and this is their sport too.

            Hey, it could be four tight hamstrings, a big wedding, or some standard rotational policy thing. But because he says nothing, inquisitive minds race to other conclusions. It’s THAT that is unhealthy.

            Stay on it Tim.

            • Columnist

              September 14th 2017 @ 11:24am
              Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              Oh, I’m on it Womblat. Mostly because I’m one of the rarest of beasts: A fan of the officials.
              I was really disappointed K Badger didn’t get a flag this week. She’s had a very strong year and is a great official. Jeff Younis being left out is just wrong. And, well, while I’m not as friendly with Atkins as I have been with Cecchin and Klein, I know he’s a great ref.

              • September 14th 2017 @ 11:38am
                Womblat said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                She’ll have her chance, she’s young and talented, but it is her debut year and she was always going to be up against perceptions of mates rates being Gavin’s relative (and no, it’s got nothing to do with her being a she, I’d say the same thing if it was Kasey Badger as in he). She’ll make an appearance somewhere else in the finals I’m sure, and will do for years.

                Maybe they are still a bit gun-shy of the two massive errors Jeff made in critical final games in 2010 and 2012, plus his sideline clanger with Brett Morris in 2016. Another error like that from him would see Archer sacked for putting him in that position. Yep, he’s been around for a long time, but the mistakes aren’t there on the youngsters records yet. Give them a shot I reckon.

              • Columnist

                September 14th 2017 @ 12:25pm
                Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                Give them a shot for sure, but all at once?
                It was Kasey’s second year I thought?
                I watched her ref a few lower grade games this year and I thought she was very good.
                Every touchie has a clanger. That Morris one in 2016 is the only one I can think of. 2010 is ancient history. Jeff is the best for mine.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 8:02am
          Sam said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          Tim I rarely wade into the Rugby League discussions but your point is well made. We dissect and criticise club coaches for their selections and omissions. Why should it be any different for the referees’ boss?

          • Columnist

            September 16th 2017 @ 8:08am
            Tim Gore said | September 16th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

            it should be as intense for him as it is for any other coach because we are all dependent on the officials

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:31am
      Jimmmy said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Tim , you are usually so methodical in your arguments , using facts / stats to build up to a well reasoned conclusion. Here? I had to read it twice to see what the conclusion was .
      Correct me if I’m wrong but you want Archer to announce his Refs for the finals and his reasoning for choosing them?
      I will give you his reasoning right now so your don’t have to worry. ‘ Before choosing the Referees for the final series we sat down a did a thorough performance review of all officials over the last 8 weeks. We weighed up their KPIs, taking into account seniority and previous finals experience. We then indexed all these measures to come up with an order of merit for all and have allocated games accordingly .
      Press. ‘ can we see the KPIs and the index. ? Archer , ‘As with all employee performance reviews the details are between us and the official.
      You demand to hear that from Archer.? Have fun wasting that five minutes of your life.

      • Columnist

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:40am
        Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Sure Jimmmy, and when he does he needs to add the KPIs that Atkins suddenly failed to achieve after clearly achieving them all year – based on Archer’s own consistent selections of Atkins all year, as well as me being able to find ZERO incidents or mistakes in his last five games whatsoever. And Jimmmy yes I have gone back and checked. That’s why this article is this week and not last.
        I know I’m highly unlikely to hear from Archer.
        But this issue is now in the public sphere and on the record. I demand the best officials. I’m watching. Closely.
        There is no waste of my time if the best officials are being picked at all times.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:36am
      Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      I don’t fully understand how touch judges operate but it seems to me that they would need to be very brave to pull up a try in a GF from a forward pass.

      But gee I wish they would.

      After all the articles on here lately about mistakes from officals I have drawn another conclusion.

      After watching NRL for years I have seen my team lose hundreds of games. It seems by all the comments on here that my view that some of these had a dramatic turning point which involved a missed forward pass and in my opinion most likely altered the result is faulty.

      I disagree entirely and won’t tolerate my rational opinion being censored

      It is based on a well known concept called a turning point.

      I will stick to my assertion that in 2013 that a missed forward pass from two touch judges by James Maloney changed the course of the game.

      I believe some decisions are the straw that broke the Camels back and no amount of talk about anything else will change my opinion.

      It can’t be proven either way so I wish people would stop trying to prove that they know otherwise.

      I can understand why a human would baulk at raising their flag and coming in to tell the ref that Darius Boyd had not only blocked a chaser, in SOO 2 but actually given him a cuddle for good luck but a touchie must come in and report something so obvious.

      I am not interested in my opinion that this incident was a turning point in the game being censored by someone saying that what about blah blah blah. Blah blah blah might be another turning point back the other way and I won’t argue with that notion. It can only ever be a valid opinion .

      • September 14th 2017 @ 7:53am
        Jimmmy said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        I have read most of the the three thousand five hundred words you have written about Manly being duded. Surely this may provide you with a little proof you are not being censored.
        The fact that I totally and utterly disagree with you and do find your arguments irrational is not censorship but opinion. Giving a counter argument is not censorship . It’s called debate.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 14th 2017 @ 8:54am
          Hard Yards said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Although one thing about that pass in the 2013 GF is that everyone saw it, regardless of loyalties, except the game officials. It wasn’t a 50/50 call. Wouldn’t have mattered who was playing. As for what happened after? Well we move into the parallel universes territory. But an absolute howler nonetheless.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 9:30am
            Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

            Hard Yards I don’t see why people argue with your opinion here, yet they go off on a tangent about what happened in 1978 as if it invalidates your reasoning.

            My team is not going to play in the GF this year. Whoever does could be the victim of a clear forward pass and be left wondering for many years whether that was the turning point and ultimately cost them a win.
            Maybe they need to grow up?

            • Columnist

              September 14th 2017 @ 11:26am
              Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              Send the link to the pass. I was live at the ground and must not have seen it.
              My memory was Williams had a shocker for the Sea Eagles and turned over a lot of ball.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm
            Oingo Boingo said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            Yes 2013 was a good year , let’s hope we have a repeat in 2017 , but this time , hoards of sulking Melbourne fans with an edited version of events to suit their sulking narrative.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 8:56am
          Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          I reckon a mistake by a ref can influence the end result and you don’t it seems. End of of story then.

          Don’t bother reading my opinion.

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2017 @ 9:04am
            The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

            Of course they influence results. No one in their right mind suggests otherwise.

            They officiate on the laws of the game. They influence the game literally hundreds of times per game.

            How do you expect a referee to do his job and not influence the result?

            • September 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
              Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

              I’m surprised at your response TB because so many Roarers are saying that the Refs don’t influence the result. (unless it suits their argument)

              • September 14th 2017 @ 9:44am
                Deir-ba-zor said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                They influence the result, they don’t straight up change it completely.

              • Columnist

                September 14th 2017 @ 10:03am
                Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                Hello! What are you doing here? Welcome.

            • Roar Pro

              September 14th 2017 @ 10:21am
              MrJSquishy said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              This is where I disagree: “They officiate on the laws of the game”.

              I advise everybody to read the Laws of the Game (2017 Edition), specifically section 11, points 10 (a) to 10 (h). This section deals with the play-the-ball. Then watch any of the Finals this weekend and see how many times the referees call out a player for an incorrect play-the-ball.

              I know it may sound like a petty point, but, it really frustrates me that the play-the-ball, the most basic of things in the game, is not officiated as the Laws of the game state. The CURRENT Laws. You can’t tell me that referees are officiating on the Laws of the Game when almost no play-the-ball is played correctly. To give an example, I watched the Penrith/Manly game (replay) and paid attention to the play-the-ball only. In the first 16 sets (of which 12 were completed, so around 60 tackles minimum), there was 9 correct play-the-balls.

              All these experts telling us that 97% of calls are right, are wrong. That is 51 incorrect calls in 15 minutes. But, it’s not the refs fault. The fans, media, management, apparently want a fast game. How do we get a fast game? Just get the ball on the ground as soon as you can and get the next play going, and we’ll tell the referees that even though there are rules for playing the ball, just ignore them!

              • September 14th 2017 @ 11:38am
                Jimmmy said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                Mr S . If you look at ‘ the rule of law and the rules of games ‘ they are not dissimilar .
                The Law consists of the statutes as written by government , legal interpretation ( through court cases ) and administrative enforcement ( by the police) .
                Very few laws are administered exactly as written. If the police were out there every day administering statutes to the letter , the system would freeze.
                In RL it’s no different . The rule says you must touch it with your foot . The NRL’s input is that as long as you make an attempt to play with your foot thats that’s OK and that’s the way it’s administered by the Refs.
                Let’s penalise the leather off the ball. That will stop it . Well , maybe , but the odd one will still be missed . Guys like wild eagle will then say ‘ that cost us the game’ . Also watch out for unintended consequences. If players are more careful playing the ball , by definition it’s slower , defenses get more time to get set , less attacking play.
                We’ve been there . I remember what it was like. Leave it be.

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2017 @ 8:59am
        The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        WE – when was the time in rugby league or any other sport that officials got everything correct? It’s never happened. It always has been and always will be part of the game and will need to be overcome to win.

        What you’ve been doing is working on the assumption that every call you’ve made over the weekend is 100% correct and therefore any time the referees disagree with you, they are wrong.

        You say the ball was stripped from Gallen. I say he lost it. Are you right? Am I right? The answer is neither. It’s an interpretation of what we saw, which is all the refs are doing and all they can ever do.

        You will never be happy with the refs performance because you’re expectation is that every decision they make will align with how you saw it. It will never happen.

        You’re not being censored. You’re coming from a ridiculously one sided starting point so people are taking issue.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 9:41am
          Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

          TB Nothing you are saying here relates at all to how I think or what I said and I’am not going to respond it is just a waste of time.

          All I will say is read MR X’ s article about Barrett and Flanagan and see my response to his complete hypocrisy to see where I stand.

          If you think my response relates in any way to what you have just written then there is no point debating with you which is a pity.

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2017 @ 11:59am
            The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

            Mate – I’m not deliberately misinterpreting what you’re writing.

            After four days of this I’m obviously still not clear on what your point is.

            What are your expectations?

            It seems you don’t want games decided by a referees mistake. Fair enough.

            It seems your definition of a mistake seems to be a decision you don’t agree with. Fair enough.

            My point is that just because you (or anyone else) disagree with the referees decision doesn’t mean the referee has made a mistake.

            You seem particularly upset by / disappointed with some of the decisions made on the weekend.

            But there wasn’t a single decision that was categorically, unanimously wrong.

            For every decision you think the refs got wrong, there are fans applauding the refs for getting it right. If the decision was reveresed you’d be satisfied but other fans would be filthy.

            How do the refs win in this situation? How can they possibly make a decision that everyone thinks is correct?

            • September 14th 2017 @ 6:00pm
              Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

              TB I will give my position as simply as I can.

              Make sure you assume that I understand all the simple concepts that refs will always make mistakes and people will have different views on it. I’ve never said otherwise.

              I am of the opinion that wrong decisions by refs can change the course of the game and I would like forward passes to be ruled on by the bunker and for the NRL to introduce a captains challenge to minimise this.

              It is not much more complicated than that..

              What I am debating are the people who tell me that a wrong call doesn’t alter the course of a game and I am in fact wrong.

              All I am doing is sticking to that opinion and I get truck loads of nonsense about Hand of god and 1978 and whatever. I also agree that these decisions can change the course of a game in Manly’s favor.

              I am told that poor decisions don’t cost Manly games but they did cost Newcastle a game this year.

              Hypocrisy to win a debate is happening and I am objecting to it.

              If others think Walkers try wasn’t a try well I accept it. If I see the evidence that I am told is there that he was in front I will accept it. I have moved on.

              Don’t misquote me on anything here. If Walkers try is indeed a no try I can accept Manly had an unfortunate day and move on.

              If it is a try then I will stick to my personal opinion that it was a turning point in the game and PERSONALLY consider the result tainted. If someone has a view that it didn’t then fair enough it is not worth debating who is wrong or right because there is NO answer.

              • Roar Guru

                September 14th 2017 @ 7:59pm
                The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

                Walkers try was a no try because that’s how it was adjudicated.

                But you haven’t accepted Manly had an unfortunate day and moved on at all.

                You’ve been blowing up deluxe.

                And that’s what I mean about salty refs fault and poor sportsmanship in not accepting the referees decision.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 12:07pm
            Concerned Observer said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            Mate… it’s been 5 days

            5 days since those evil refs cost your team the game against those dastardly panthers, that same team that not 7 days earlier your team stacked 30+ points on

            Ask yourself, did the ref stifle those opportunities, did they take away Manly’s ruthless and aggressive attitude from that great game in rd. 26?

            Ask yourself, as I finally had to do after another “howler” “cost” the cowboys in their QF against the roosters in 2014. “Why was my team in that position?” As in, why did it come down to one or two 50:50 or incorrect calls. Cowboys had 30 points put on them in the 1st half of that game, not good enough, never good enough

            Manly were sitting pretty for a top 4 finish and ended up fighting it out for the bottom half. Manly had dominated the panthers in that rd. 26 game and honestly? Probably expected to do it again which made them vulnerable, and when a lot of your team is inexperienced in finals footy that poses a big problem

            Mistakes from the refs are gonna happen, you’re not gonna get every 50:50 call, the key is, a good team overcomes them, or is never in a position to suffer from them

          • Roar Rookie

            September 14th 2017 @ 5:45pm
            Matthew Pearce said | September 14th 2017 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            Wow, 5 days since the game and still throwing out the same petulant whining.

            As multiple people have pointed out to you, none of us ever said the referees don’t influence results. We’re telling you they don’t determine them. Big difference. A team always has time to recover and prove they were the better team by coming back. A failure to do so is on them, not the officials.

            “Censored”? Get off it, this is the complete opposite of censorship. If your opinion was rational you wouldn’t need to throw in emotional appeals and personal attacks, as you have on several occasions.

            Mr X’s article was on the money and led to a good deal of constructive discussion, and he was consistent with his ideology the whole time, the complete opposite of hypocrisy. Your comments to him were completely off the mark, and to bring that up like you somehow put him in his place or something is pretty childish.

            But, of course, what would a “clown” like me know, hey?

    • September 14th 2017 @ 7:44am
      bear54 said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      What does it matter? They could choose God him (or her)self with Jesus as the pocket ref and there’ll be complaints.

      The focus on ref’s in the NRL these days is beyond ridiculous. Why are the players a protected species but it’s carte-blanch on the whistle-blowers? When the coaches come out and get stuck into their own players publicly for poor decisions, missed tackles and dropped balls they can have some credibility when giving it to a ref for making 3 or 4 mistakes out of a 100 decisions in a game.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 7:46am
        Jimmmy said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        That’s very good Bear. Jesus Christ ! get em onside.!!!

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 9:00am
          The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          God, I hope we win this one…

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2017 @ 10:52am
            Nat said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

            Bahahaha.

            • September 14th 2017 @ 11:42am
              Womblat said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

              Who’s the overarching video ref? Bill Harrigan? He’d be the only one game enough to overrule…

      • September 14th 2017 @ 9:13am
        Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Everyone in the game cops enormous criticism including the Refs.

        Why do plenty of people decline coaching roles?
        Rampant criticism is one reason.

        The focus on coaches is also beyond ridiculous.

        The main problem is when criticism is unfair and irrational which a lot of it is.

        Trouble is some fair criticism is brushed under the carpet as well.

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 12:00pm
          The Barry said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          You really think coaches get more undue criticism than refs?

          • September 14th 2017 @ 5:15pm
            Wild Eagle said | September 14th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            Read about Barrett or Hasler on either fan site when the teams aren’t doing well. It is mind blowing.

      • Columnist

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Bear54, this is not a focus on refereeing decisions but on what referees get selected for the games. This article is focusing on a clear anomaly in the selections.
        If we expect fans players coaches to stop complaining about decisions, we have a right to expect that Archer is choosing the best officials. I’m asking for him to explain what I see as a clear anomaly.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:57am
          Albo said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          I agree with you Tim that the Atkins expulsion is clearly an anomaly based on his season’s full appointments as the lead referee. So you must have some opinion as why this has occurred ? What’s you thoughts here ? Has he upset the boss ? Was he just allocated the low profile games throughout the year and perhaps thought by Archer not to be ready for the semi final pressures ?

          • Columnist

            September 14th 2017 @ 11:10am
            Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

            I honestly don’t know Albo. But I was certainly surprised so I’m assuming there is a reason. I’ve just had a good look and can’t find one.

            • September 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm
              Nathan Hook said | September 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

              I am not sure that he has to explain his decision, just as a club doesn’t have to explain recruitment decisions, or even game day selection decisions.

              To say that Archer has to explain why he picked who he did is beyond ridiculous.

              Also to expect this explanation as a reason to have coaches and fans stop complaining, is again beyond a joke.

              Just let them referee and there will always be mistakes, deal with it and move on.

              • Columnist

                September 14th 2017 @ 5:28pm
                Tim Gore said | September 14th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                Ok! Pack it up everyone…
                Apologies. I’m beyond ridiculous. Don’t know what I was thinking. The referees boss can do as he likes and not justify a damn thing.
                Nathan says it’s all cool.
                And if Nathan says it, well, debate over.
                Sorry I wasted everyone’s time.
                Thanks for setting me straight Nath. You’re the voice of reason in a sea of fools…

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