NRL referees’ logic obstructed

Adam Bishop Roar Rookie

24 Have your say

    The moment Bryan Norrie’s pinky finger came into contact with Martin Taupau’s left nipple during Cooper Cronk’s try for Melbourne on Thursday night, a distinctly uncomfortable feeling began building in the pit of my stomach.

    No it wasn’t the beef doner kebab with garlic sauce I was scoffing down at the time, it was the prospect of yet another ludicrous video referring decision that would take the gloss off a game I otherwise was heartily enjoying.

    It was my firm hope the new refereeing regime in 2013 would solve many of the problems and inconstancies that have plagued the NRL officialdom in previous seasons.

    Admittedly there have been some positive changes, the speed of the ruck is certainly one of those, however the interpretation of the obstruction rule continues to cause headaches for players, coaches and fans alike.

    In the case of Bryan Norrie during the Storm-Bulldogs clash, it is probably the worst ruling I’ve witnessed regarding the obstruction rule in living memory.

    What really grinds fans’ gears when it comes to ruling on obstructions is that there appears to be no latitude for good old fashioned common sense. Surely a bit of discretion can be used to determine if (a) the level of contact made between a defender and a decoy is significant and (b) if it would have had any effect on the play.

    In the case of Cooper Cronk’s try on Thursday night, Martin Taupau would have had a better chance of toppling Julia Gillard in a leadership spill than stopping the try being scored. Further to this, the level of contact made was similar to a plush toy brushing past a strip of felt.

    Even with all this in mind, the try was denied because of a black and white interpretation that precludes ANY contact being made between a defender and a decoy, regardless of the context.

    If I were a coach in today’s game, I would have no choice but to order my players who are running off the ball to learn how to perform an expert barrel roll in order to prevent contact, either that or speak to David Copperfield about the art-form of invisibility. It’s just plain ridiculous!

    The wider implications of this kind of decision will unfortunately mean we have less attacking creativity in the game because players will be too scared to run off the ball for fear of any type of contact with a defender.

    If the NRL does not address this kind of issue, the game will continue down the road of being even more structured and predictable, and prevent the Benji Marshalls and Johnathan Thurstons of the game from weaving their magic.

    It should also be noted that if a defender chooses to tackle a player off the ball, this is not an obstruction. That defender has made the bad decision and the decoy has been successful.

    Lamentably I see this time and again construed as a penalty and I am one rugby league fan who has had enough.

    Let’s give the referees the ability to use more discretion and let the game flow at its creative best.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • March 24th 2013 @ 8:06am
      eagleJack said | March 24th 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      The most disappointing thing for me was the high hope I held for Daniel Anderson.

      During the Manly v Cowboys game in Rd 22 last year he tweeted via ABC Grandstand

      “Just watched Glenn Hall literally dive across Anthony Watmough to milk a No Try decision. Oh dear. What replays of what game do the refs watch”?

      I couldn’t have agreed more with him at the time. It was a disgraceful decision not to award the try. Glenn Hall would never have stopped the play and he purposely leaped into Watmough with the knowledge that it would put doubt in the video referees mind.

      Under Daniel Anderson I thought common sense would be at the forefront of his instructions to his charges. Im hoping that upon reviewing the Cronk no try he realises this and sends out the message he actually used to believe in before becoming refs boss.

    • Roar Guru

      March 24th 2013 @ 9:10am
      Bazzio said | March 24th 2013 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      The more ‘discretion’ referees are ‘given’, the more likely it becomes that even more ludicrous decisions will be made, and the game will be right back where it started ~ a refereeing schamozzle.

    • March 24th 2013 @ 9:29am
      Meesta Cool said | March 24th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Let’s not forget that the Ref called it right, he was over ruled by the idiot in the box!…

    • March 24th 2013 @ 9:46am
      Dragons Forever said | March 24th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      I thought Hollywood Harrigan was in the box again 🙁

    • March 24th 2013 @ 9:59am
      Dragons Forever said | March 24th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      To Anderson and the refs credit, before this blunder IMO they have done a wonderful job so far. Lets hope logic steps in and we don’t get a repeat of this obstruction ruining g or its 5 steps forward and 6 steps back. Other than that gd job so far

    • March 24th 2013 @ 10:21am
      phascolomis said | March 24th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      Using commonsense could be a very difficult task when dealing with people who do not understand the concept. Sorry but players only understand what is in black and white and gamemanship.

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