New NRL refs boss promises clarity

Ian McCullough Roar Guru

By Ian McCullough,


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    Newly-appointed NRL referees coach Daniel Anderson has promised coaches, players and fans will have more clarity over the obstruction rule this season.

    Former Parramatta and Warriors coach Anderson has replaced Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper following a number of high-profile errors from officials last year and vowed to reduce the number of grey areas that have surrounded the game.

    Obstruction was one of the biggest talking points last year, with clubs such as Canterbury taking full advantage of the interpretation of the rule to score tries with players running behind their own teammates.

    Queensland centre Justin Hodges also scored from a similar play when he darted behind prop Ben Hannant in the State of Origin decider in Brisbane which left NSW fuming as they slipped to a seventh straight series defeat.

    Anderson met with 15 of the 16 NRL head coaches at Rugby League Central in Sydney on Wednesday, with Newcastle’s Wayne Bennett, who was announcing his team for the annual All Stars game in Brisbane, the only absentee.

    The meeting also saw discussion about the outlawing of the shoulder charge and how it will be adjudicated by officials.

    However, obstruction was the big topic of the day and Anderson said a DVD would be delivered to coaches and the media before the start of the pre-season trials to clarify the grey areas in full.

    But he conceded that there would still be some controversy surrounding the ruling next season.

    “We have put in some parameters that will encapsulate a high percentage of the review decisions, but there will always be scenarios outside the rules and regulations,” Anderson said.

    “But we’re doing our best to get as many as we can and get some clarity for coaches.

    “It doesn’t matter what model you you put in. The game has that much athletic ability there is always going to be things you don’t envisage or legislate for.

    “We’re looking to get 95-99 per cent of them so fans can look at a game and say: ‘That should be obstruction or that is not obstruction.'”

    Anderson said there was no opposition from the clubs about the outlawing of shots to the head, but plenty of discussion about the banning of the shoulder charge.

    “Attacking a player’s head brought no debate but the shoulder charge was dealt with,” he said.

    “You have to use your arms, but there were not many shoulder charges in 2012.

    “It’s not coached by anyone and I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappeared naturally. We still have the collision aspect of our game but we’ve got to be wary of not making contact with the head.”

    Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and felt it was more than worthwhile.

    “We got a bit of closure around the obstruction stuff, it was good,” Toovey said.

    “There was a lot of headway made. I think they’ve made their point clear about what is obstruction and what isn’t.

    “The rules were a bit out of tune with how the game has gone and they’ve made a bit of tweaking.”

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • January 17th 2013 @ 11:38am
      Roarsome said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      Why change the ruling? How about just enforcing the rule we have. Better still sin bin the defenders who run at attacking players without the ball and then take a dive…… As NSW did on that ‘controversial’ try.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

    • January 17th 2013 @ 12:31pm
      oikee said | January 17th 2013 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      Yes, blub blub blub blub blah.
      Until Anderson looks at the Torso rule (which was introduced just before the extinction of the dinosuars) and gets rid of this he is just another plodder making up the numbers.
      The whole idea of him being their is to get someone to look at the rules and go through them and toss out what we dont need, or fix the rules we have got in place.
      Being able to ground the ball with your chest is plain dumb, stupid, and then if a ball hits your chest it can be play-on. ???
      Cant anyone but me see the stupidity of this rule, for a try your Torso is in play. ???
      But if a ball hits you in the chest and you dont touch it with your hands, they are trying to say your chest is not in play???

      I keep saying you cant have it both ways, and their is nothing worse than a ball hitting a player in the chest, going 10 metres forward, he or another player picks it up and they score, only to have the ref or video ref say yes, all good.

      I get so embarressed when this happens, i think of all the half neutral new fans new to the game all saying “its a knovk-on, the ball went forward off him”…… only to have the video ref say try.

      This is so amatuer, it is a part of the game most the problems come from, when Inglis knocked on in the first game of origin, it also should have just been a scrum on the 10 metre line, not 20 looks at it to embarress the game again.

      a couple of minor rule changes will fix alot of things, yet Anderson is running around looking at obstruction,
      Look, simple fix, a scrum if you run behind your own player. Most the time it is a accident anyhow.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 12:39pm
      oikee said | January 17th 2013 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      See that suttle little change right their, that is what Anderson should be looking at, here is a example.

      The rules states that you cant run behind your own players. Ok, i think the rule also states it should be a penalty. ? Why. ?

      This is a suttle change but it what should be made. It only ever happens accidently, the players realise most the time they have run behind a player, they normally drop to the ground. Maybe change the rule and say you have to drop to the ground, play dead and the oppostion only can touch you to make you play the ball, so until they are ready, set their line and touch you, your dead, out of play.
      Now if the guy keeps running, dont make it a penalty.
      Just make it a scrum, again a suttle change but not warrenting a penalty.

      The whole rules book needs to be fixed. Just get someone to have a look and fix any dinosaur rulings that no longer relate to our game. Or with suttle changes can be better.

    • January 17th 2013 @ 5:23pm
      Dragoon said | January 17th 2013 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

      Good luck – many have tried…

    • January 18th 2013 @ 11:32am
      Meesta Cool said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      I partly agree with Oiks. no team should get penalties from minor offences. — just turn the ball over or have a scrum at the place where the offence took place.. teams should not get easy metres for “tiggy touchwood’ decisions.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 11:58am
        oikee said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        Exactly, And we need some minor changes to the rules, some are over the top heavy handed.
        I see you partly agree, so your still not convinced the torso is out of play for in-field, but in play for in-goal.

        Think about this, ,,,,,,,, he never grounded the ball with his hand, only fell on it with his guts, ,,,, TRY.

        Oh, he knocked the ball on, it come off him and has bobbled around for 10—-20 metres gone forward off his guts. ,,,,TRY..

        Come on, if you want the world to laugh at you, then keep this old dinosaur rule, if you want the world to say knock-on, it come off his body, then change the damm silly old fashioned rule, and while your at it Anderson, fix the minor offence rules as well. Giving a penalty for accidents is silly, just put down a scrum.
        Anyone watching the gamwe will know that a ball gone forward off a player is knocked forward, yet out dinosaur rule allows play to go on.

    • January 19th 2013 @ 9:09am
      Meesta Cool said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Hey Oiks. where did I say that I agreed with the torso rule?…. omce again we agree, The ball should be touched down with pressure (I believe yhis ia almost what the rule states. it should be controlled until it touches the ground, Torso and finger tip tries are neither controlled nor placed down under pressure!.

      IMO (For what it is worth), the ball must be placed on the ground in one or two hands with at least four full fingers in contact with it, anything else including Torso try, is to be declared ‘NO TRY”.. how simple is this to police… Video playback will then be easy to determine rather than looking for millimetres in milliseconds.

      yup Oikees, I agree with most of what you say, If I agreed with everything, I would become a Queenslander and Mum would divorce me for extremist views…. luv yer posts though. keep em coming.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:22am
        oikee said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Just common sense Meesta, sometimes i do get it so wrong. If you see a blank post of mine, i have posted, reread it after posting, then scrapped the whole thing because it was a pile of bullocks. 🙂

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