Why Graham Murray should replace Finch

Steve Kaless Roar Guru

By Steve Kaless, Steve Kaless is a Roar Guru

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    So it’s finally happened: Robert Finch has decided to draw a close on his tenure as NRL referees coach. My initial reaction was a high volume “YAHOOOO,” as I thought back to the constant frustration of the past eight years as Finch lamely supported another dud refereeing decision in the face of a mountain of evidence.

    I considered changing my lunch menu to include the biggest bottle of champagne I could afford from the local bottle-o, but then I figured I may be getting ahead of myself.

    Then, almost incredibly, I started to feel sorry for Finch.

    Recently, Finch has resembled a broken man. His previous act of refusing to accept any referee could have erred has given way to just rolling over and accepting another howler has been made.

    In the past few weeks, Bill Harrigan and Sean Hampstead have been demoted after howlers in the video ref’s box. Harrigan and Hampstead, two of the games most experienced referees, unable to make the right call despite all the technology and time in their favour.

    Given their form, you’d be hard pressed to leave them in charge of putting on a DVD for the family, let alone deciding the fate of a Grand Final.

    If all the coaching and professionalism means these two blokes can’t work out whether a ball has been dropped or a bloke has been tackled without the ball, despite the use of a dozen of angles and replays, then you have to wonder what the hell has been the point.

    Finch will be jeered from rugby league office for two reasons. One isn’t his fault, one is.

    The first is that it isn’t so much a case of shooting the messenger, but rather beheading him and sticking his head on a stake out the front of the NRL offices as a reminder to the next bloke: “DON’T STUFF THIS UP”.

    Finch became the public face of refereeing errors.

    Referees wouldn’t admit a blue, he would do it for them. Finch became the sole reason your team lost, your weekend was ruined, you got teased at work, and your wife hated your guts.

    You wanted the two points back, revenge, someone’s head. You had Finch mumbling about doing better next time.

    You could see why someone could have had enough.

    However, Finch must also bear some of the responsibility for the current problem. He wasn’t just the spokesman, he was the coach. Coaches are paid because teams are meant to do better with them. When the team doesn’t do well, that cash becomes a waste and the coach cops the heat.

    Robert Finch has enjoyed salaried role as referee’s coach for eight years, and I’m not sure many people would feel that the refereeing has improved a great deal in that time.

    Finch may argue people will never be satisfied with referees. That’s true.

    But he is not helped by the fact that people also feel deeply dissatisfied with refereeing at present, that they would feel that under his watch, refereeing standards have gone backwards.

    So that is him out.

    The real debate for the NRL is what option should the NRL go for now. I’ll be clear in my opinion: NOT BILL HARRIGAN.

    Talk about frying pans and fires. Harrigan would be possibly the worst call the game could make.

    Harrigan has been a big part of the system which has failed to deliver the sort of results people would expect, so he can’t be rewarded. The man should remain on the lookout for cement trucks, not pick up a new set of business cards.

    Personally, I’d like to see an ex-NRL coach trialled in the role. There are plenty of good ones about and the biggest problem at the moment seems to be the understanding of how the rules should be interpreted.

    An NRL coach knows a massive amount about the game should also know about handling the press, picking a team, bringing through young talent, and kicking the odd bum at training.

    Step forward Graham Murray.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • September 2nd 2010 @ 6:22am
      oikee said | September 2nd 2010 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      Agree Steve, someone outside the system. What we have is a complete mess and Finch should have been hanged 2 years ago. Lets really look at what has happened, dud calls every week for the past 2 years. A NRL that wont act or sack a dinosaur, instead it was up to Finch to announce his departure.
      So, lack of leadership from the top.
      You could put a 8 year old kid in charge and get better results in the video box.
      As for the refs, they have no confidence in what they are doing, again, this is coming from the top (Finch).
      Finally, the rules are not black and white, the refs are finding themselves in hot water because they are not sure what to do. So, we also need to overhaul a out of date rules system.
      Again, this would have been Finchy’s job to scream from the roof-tops, but he ignored this problem with our game. Maybe he did not ignore, but i never read where he mentioned the rules.

      No more dinosaurs running the game, please. We need someone in charge of the refs who is forward thinking, not stuck in our dinosaur system.
      The fans are the only people who are moving forward it seems. Think about it, we have had to put up with replay after replay of video reffing, to only see the wrong decision made, yet we still turn up next week with the same goose in charge, ready to do it all over again.
      The NRL really needs to hold its head in shame, they took 3 years to change a corner post rule, 2 years making fans suffer dud ref calls without sacking anyone, and its now 2 years for not making a decision on playing huge finals at a bigger venue, after last year it was seen as a mistake. Why is the NRL not playing semi finals at the bigger stadiums. You have had home ground advantage all year, its now time to let the public turn up, how is the game suppose to grow if we keep playing semis at small grounds. This is the madness of the NRL , the best game i have witnessed was the dogs Parra last year, supporters at either end, magic, i have never seen anything like it before. You would think that the NRL would have changed the system because it worked, but NO, they let it slip again for our customary 3 year wait.

      Not good enough, time for Commish to get things done, NOW, not in 10 years time.

    • September 2nd 2010 @ 6:35am
      oikee said | September 2nd 2010 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      To sum it up perfectly Steve, the NRL is a 57 Chevy. Well loved, a classic, being looked after by a backyard mackanic. He washes it every now and then to make it look nice, but he never has time to fix the ball-joints or check the oil. So it looks great, but if you had to drive it, god help you.
      Time the Chevy got a complete overhaul. Lets make it driveable.

    • Roar Guru

      September 2nd 2010 @ 9:28am
      M1tch said | September 2nd 2010 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      I would hope there are many rules changes in this off season..

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