Stop complaining about the refs, Ricky, and answer these questions about the Raiders

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    “I’ll be waiting for Todd [Greenberg] to ring me and to tell me what an obstruction is.”

    First question – will a ‘texer’ suffice?

    That statement is from Ricky Stuart’s press conference on Saturday night after the Canberra Raiders lost to the New Zealand Warriors 20-19 to start their 2018 season 0-3.

    Predictable is not a word I’ve used to describe the NRL season so far, but what is becoming increasingly so are these types of press conferences from Ricky Stuart where he makes a decision to move the focus from what his team has done on the field to the officials and the interpretation of the rules.

    Stuart’s comments were in relation to Junior Paulo being denied a try because of an obstruction. Had it been awarded it would have taken Canberra’s lead to 25-6.

    This decision came a week after a try was awarded to Tautau Moga in similar circumstances in the Knights’ 30-28 win over the Raiders. It also came the day after Moses Mbye was awarded a try in the Bulldogs game against the Panthers after the Bunker ruled that lead runner Will Hopoate had made minimal contact with James Maloney. This decision is still under review by the referees’ boss, Bernard Sutton.

    Stuart may be right in that we need greater consistency in our game about the obstruction rule. The reality is though, referees will never get every decision correct.

    Stuart needs to focus on his team and should be forced to answer some serious questions about a team that has blown three significant leads in as many weeks.

    Here are some facts:

    The Raiders scored zero points in the last 31 minutes of their game against the Warriors.

    The Raiders put the Warriors in a position where they had the opportunity for three attacking plays in the last three minutes of the game.

    The Warriors’ winning field goal was off an 80-metre return. Additionally, when Shaun Johnson took the field goal, he was under no pressure at all from the Raiders defence.

    In the opening three weeks of the season, the Raiders have led games by 18, eight and 12 points. They lost all of them.

    The Raiders still could not get the job done against the Warriors despite New Zealand losing Adam Blair to the sin-bin, the Raiders making more line breaks, missing fewer tackles and also making fewer errors than their opponents.

    Some questions need to be asked.

    Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Like why are metres so easily being made by opposition teams running toward Blake Austin and Sam Williams? How has such an obvious target in defence been allowed to remain?

    What is wrong with the Raiders defence and why do they lack such game awareness? Is it a fitness problem or is there something fundamentally wrong with the defensive structures they practice at training?

    Why is Jack Wighton persisted with at fullback? His attack is no longer an appropriate excuse for his positional play, which at times leaves me completely bemused and his team exceptionally vulnerable.

    Why does Stuart not want to play Siliva Havilli for more minutes? He has been one of the Raiders’ most impressive players so far this season. He is physical in defence, provides real spark out of dummy half and is an exciting player to watch in attack. He is the clear option going forward for that hooker position.

    But most baffling of all: Why is Aiden Sezer not playing in the halves? I feel for this young player who came from the Titans to the Raiders and has not been set up to succeed. We have not seen the best of Sezer at the Raiders and part of that is because he is constantly shifting position. The experiment with him at hooker is not working. His service out of dummy half often halts the Raiders and he seems to struggle in making the correct decision on which way to send the ball.

    I doubt he will be at the Raiders much longer.

    Aidan Sezer Canberra Raiders NRL Rugby League 2016

    (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

    A controversial refereeing decision may have been made in relation to that obstruction call, but one favourable call is not going to be enough to turn around the fortunes of the Raiders season.

    Refereeing is something that has come under immense scrutiny in the opening weeks of the competition.

    Some incorrect calls have been made. For example, Bernard Sutton has come out and said that the penalty awarded against the Tigers in double golden point extra time was wrong. Ashley Klein’s decision to penalise the marker defence has been called ‘an error in judgement’. This penalty saw the Tigers lose their first game of the season. I’m certain Ivan Cleary and his men were disappointed, but that they have also already shifted focus to next week against the Parramatta Eels.

    Some games have been frustrating to watch because of constant penalties. My bias as a Parramatta supporter was clear to those around me at the game on Saturday night, when it took until very late in the second half for the Eels to be awarded a penalty.

    But I am a firm believer in the idea that some refereeing decisions will be in your favour and others will not. This is part of sport.

    In a difficult weekend for Aussies who love sport, the scandal which has engulfed Australian cricket has once again demonstrated to me that above winning there are some very fundamental principles which go towards how we think sport should be played – principles of honesty, integrity and at all times fairly and by the rules.

    One principle that I would add to that is the importance of not only learning to win with grace, but losing with it too.

    Stuart has every right to be frustrated and to wear his heart on his sleeve. He clearly feels for his players and that the effort they are putting in continues to go unrewarded.

    But it’s time for Ricky to put his phone down hoping for Todd to call and instead get back to work to help his team be in a position to win their first game of the season.

    Mary Konstantopoulos
    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Mary Konstantopoulos is a lawyer, sports advocate and proud owner and founder of the Ladies Who empire, including Ladies who League, Ladies who Legspin, Ladies who Lineout and Ladies who Leap. You can find her podcast on iTunes and find her on Twitter @mary__kaye and @ladieswholeague.

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    The Crowd Says (132)

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2018 @ 7:29am
      Emcie said | March 26th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      Do people actually buy in to Ricky’s complaints anymore? Going by the blog of the game even Raiders supporters are getting sick of it

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        I don’t blame them, either Emcie. There is almost nothing worse than when a coach/player refuses to be held accountable.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2018 @ 9:42am
        Nat said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        I have to think Ricky doesn’t believe it but the team’s performance is as much a reflection on him as his team. So if he can chew up 3/5 minutes of the presser and deflect a little. Surely he cannot be so arrogant as to believe that was even a try let alone a game changer. It was at the 51st minute!

        • Columnist

          March 26th 2018 @ 11:15am
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          I think deflection is a key part of the strategy, Nat. But I don’t think it’s a good one. No attention has been deflected from the Raiders performances on field and Ricky looks silly.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 2:06pm
          Geo said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

          The team is a reflection on Ricky – he made the dumb move to bugger up the halves to not fix the hooker problem. The trouble is that he’ll take a whole year to move away from a strategy that was flawed in the first place. It’s okay to use one’s instincts and do something from left field, but go back to a common sense approach as soon as it fails. Hookers take years to become 80 min players, yet our best half actually played in the halves before about an hour at hooker to end the game. Havili was fresh as a daisy polishing the bench while Sezer was punch drunk from exhaustion and from being hit twice by Lisone (where were THOSE penalties refs?). Mary, I feel a little dirty as you must be in my head – what you say about Jack Wighton and the other points you make have been in my head for ages. I’m only surprised you didn’t say that Croker badly needs to be on the wing OUTSIDE of Cotric. Croker has turned into a turnstile and is getting into the young fellas way to boot. Ricky’s use of the bench has been disastrous for a few years. We do love him, but he MUST MUST MUST change and change quickly.

          Raiders Member

          • March 26th 2018 @ 4:35pm
            Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | March 26th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

            Ricky’s use of the bench is mind boggling. He brought Kurt Baptiste on for less than 10 minutes in games last year when in 2016 he was getting 30 minutes plus and winning games for us when other teams were tiring.

            Havilli looks solid for 20 minutes against the Warriors and never returns while Liam Knight would have been lucky to get 10 to 15 minutes. And we wonder why they all looked cooked at the end of the game. Heaven help us. I’m also starting to think Josh Papalii should be brought on in short 20 minute bursts – maybe rotate him with Knight – similar to how Taumololo and Hess are used by the Cowboys. Papalii has just been jogging around at the end of games looking gassed.

          • Columnist

            March 26th 2018 @ 8:36pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

            Geo, I promise to leave your head right now. Thank you for helping me to write this article.

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2018 @ 7:59am
      The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report


      It’s the easiest thing to do as a footy player, coach or fan to go through games and pick out the four or five decisions that “cost us the game”.

      The harder thing is to acknowledge why you’re constantly in losing positions where one decision can cost you a game.

      It doesn’t matter if Stuart is right or wrong. Regardless the decision had been made and was in the rear view mirror when the Raiders were leading by seven points with four minutes to go. That decision had nothing to do with them conceding eight points in four minutes.

      There are other more urgent reasons why the Raiders lost.

      Refs certainly don’t get every call right. They never have and likely never will (at least until they get microchips in their head and jet packs).

      Sometimes decisions go against you, sometimes you get the rub of the green. It’s happened to the Dogs over the last two weeks. I didn’t blow up about the “dodgy” obstruction call that went against us v the Roosters. So I’ll cop the “good” one against the Panthers.

      This wailing and gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands every time a call goes against our teams “that cost us the game!!!” is childish in the extreme.

      None of that means that refs shouldn’t be accountable or that we shouldn’t be working to get refereeing as good as possible.

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 11:03am
        Tim Gore said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        I’m a Ricky zealot.
        However, I thought that was obstruction from the moment it happened. What’s worse it was completely unnecessary obstruction. Paulo was going to score. He was not going to be stopped.
        All Bateman did was cost his side a try.
        I thought Grant Atkins and his team had a strong game.
        The referees did not cost the Raiders that game.
        Happy Baz?

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 12:06pm
          Nat said | March 26th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          Kudos Tim. I seen your Insta post after the game acknowledging the refs.

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 1:13pm
          Edward Kelly said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          I thought the refs did a great job but the touchies did a poor job, missing offside kick chasers and late tackles.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 2:11pm
          Geo said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          I agree Tim, the refs didn’t cost us this game, and almost no Raiders posters on the GH Forum did either. They, and I, felt a bit like Steve Smith’s parents would be feeling – “oh no, you didn’t” Steve/Ricky.

        • Columnist

          March 26th 2018 @ 2:16pm
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          To be fair, Ricky did acknowledge that the referee’s did not cost the Raiders the game.

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 11:16am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        I should write more articles like this The Barry. I don’t think I have ever gotten a ‘Halle-bloody-lujah!!!’ from you! But in all seriousness, completely agree with everything you have said.

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 11:26am
          The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          I don’t hand ‘Halle-bloody-lujah’s’ out lightly. You know if you get one you’ve earned it…😁

      • Roar Rookie

        March 26th 2018 @ 1:30pm
        Bunney said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        You nailed the REAL question TB.

        How on earth do the Raiders leak a converted try and then fail to stop two field goals, all in less than 3.5mins from full time? Are they on the fix?? That’s not a serious question, but that is seriously bad form from the Raiders.

        Last year the panthers scored two tries in final 2.5 minutes to beat the Raiders. I thought that was freakish, but it’s looking more like par for the Raiders course.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 2:14pm
          Geo said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

          We had a young Prop (Royce Hunt) on for debut NRL game. He played 7 minutes and had a rest that continues to this day. Meanwhile, all his stuffed teammates were making mistakes and barely able to stand up. Deja vu.

          We keep hearing that the Raiders players are having the toughest pre-season ever, but maybe these sessions only last 75 minutes….

          • Roar Rookie

            March 26th 2018 @ 2:46pm
            Bunney said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

            75min pre-season sessions! Brilliant!

            Reminds me of that line in There’s Something About Mary, “What’s better than 8 minute abs? 7 minute abs!”

            What’s better than a 90min pre-season conditioning session…?

    • March 26th 2018 @ 8:25am
      Mick said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      I definitely think attitude is a problem. As you bring up in the article, Stuart continually blames the refs, despite the players having opportunities to win the match. Maybe he says something different to the players privately, but he doesn’t need to continually blame the refs. After Broncos, Tigers match Cleary made a point of saying the players had an opportunity to win the game.

      I remember after the Raiders lost to the Broncos by a point early last season, in a match where only four trys were scored in greasy conditions. Blake Austin was asked about when the Raiders went for a try, instead of going for a field goal and he said something along the lines of ‘we feel like we are as good a chance of getting a try as a field goal’. I’m not against going for the try if there is an opportunity, but given the conditions I think it was poor game management and poor attitude.

      I think the Raiders need to look at the balance of their roster and consider signing a different half. Austin and Sezer are both great individual players, but neither one seems like an organising half. When the Raiders played at their best in 2016, Hodgson was chief organiser and times played like a half when he went to lock. I think Raiders should move on one of either Austin or Sezer. I’d probably let Leilua go as well. It would free up cap space and Cotric could move into the centres or fullback (Wighton could go to centre). The Raider could try and sign someone like Brock Lamb, or if there are no suitable halves, sign someone like Hodkinson on short term deal and have a war chest ready to make a big money play on someone like a Brodie Croft.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2018 @ 8:32am
        Emcie said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        For someone who constantly bangs on about ref accountability he doesn’t seem to set the same standard for his own players. Happy to ride the hype train when things go well but its quickly someone elses fault when results go against them

      • March 26th 2018 @ 10:39am
        RandyM said | March 26th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        I hope to god he says something different to the players in the dressing sheds…

      • March 26th 2018 @ 11:08am
        Albo said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        I tend to agree , Mick. The Raiders do seem to have an attitude problem or at least a psychological lack of confidence from the many closes losses in recent times. I think the problem is a lack of on field leadership and particularly around their halves lack of ability to manage the game. They seem to be totally reliant on the individual skills of their outside backs to get them home and these guys can only do it so much one out. They have persisted with Sezer & Austin for a few seasons now, and more recently have given Williams another try. None of these 3 have ever been the answer in my opinion ( a number of other clubs let them go early in their careers) , but finding someone who is, will be a tough task. The good managing halves are as scarce as rocking horse s#&t . Unless they have some kid coming through the lower grades , they are going to have to try to outbid everyone else for one of the few that are sought after, or persist with the same limited personnel. I don’t see Brock Lamb as any solution. Hodkinson would only be very short term, and I doubt Croft will ever be let go by the Storm. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place in this regard, and will just have to battle hard to keep competing till a game manager appears.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 11:50am
          Mick said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          I agree organising halves are rare – hence the Dragons paid overs to get Ben Hunt. I think the Raiders should have tried to sign someone like Maloney or Pearce for this season. There aren’t a lot of halves off contract this season, so I think the Raiders need to look long term. Most big NRL deals are done 12 months in advance so to sign someone for 2021, they need to planning now and be ready to make a big money offer at the end of next year. I think it’s unlikely Croft would leave Melbourne, but if the Raiders offered him massive money he might be tempted. Two years ago I would never have thought Hunt would be playing for the Dragons and Cronk for the Roosters. Croft, Foran, Mbye, Nikorima, Townsend, Connor Watson and Chad Townsend are all off contract at end of 2020. I think Raiders should sign halves to short term deals (both Sezer and Austin are off contract this season), and have plenty of money free to sign a big name half.

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 2:19pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        I’ve heard whispers that Blake Austin wants to come home to Western Sydney. But only whispers. Who knows how accurate they are.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 2:49pm
          Geo said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

          Now you’re RECRUITING??. Multitasking woman, how many things are you trying to achieve from this one article?? You can’t coach, can you?? Seriously, we at the Raiders could do with someone like you.

          • Columnist

            March 26th 2018 @ 3:15pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            I’m quite positive so if the Raiders need a ‘Happiness Manager’, happy to put my hand up! 😛

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2018 @ 8:50am
      Adam said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Not withstanding that the call was probably correct. It looked bad in real time and even worse on the slowmo.
      The raiders have no idea how to shut out a game. It wasn’t just 8 points it was three different pojnt scoring plays that makes it far worse. But this team has been making a habit of it for over a season now. I think the attitude of sticky and Crocker have really influenced the team in a negative fashion

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 2:20pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

        Adam, it’s interesting to me you mention Croker? What are your thoughts on him?

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 2:51pm
          Adam said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

          I just don’t see him as a natural leader. Sure he’s a nice bloke with plenty of games under his belt but he doesn’t seem like he is the kind of guy that can hold an audience with either the team or the referees.
          I know he is injured but Josh Hodgson should have been captain previously

    • March 26th 2018 @ 8:51am
      kk said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Fair go, Mary.

      When did Todd Greenberg the politician answer a question.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 26th 2018 @ 9:26am
        Hard Yards said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        TV stations don’t want to see a 54-0 scoreline. They want everything to come down to golden point to keep the viewer tuned in to the drama. They’re big paying customers. Lot of pressure there for Mr Greenberg. “We’ve evened up the sets haven’t we?” Pretty sure I heard that come over the audio on Friday night. Just saying.

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 9:30am
          The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          I heard that too Hard Yards.

          I noted the time. It was around the 56 minute mark after the Broncos had received a penalty, kicked for touch. and were getting ready to re-start the game.

          It came over the effects mike loud and clear. To quote Toovs there needs to be an investigation. Was it a match official as opposed to say a nine producer (or Joe the cameraman)?

          • Columnist

            March 26th 2018 @ 11:05am
            Tim Gore said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Did you seriously hear that?!?
            Which game?

            • Roar Guru

              March 26th 2018 @ 11:28am
              The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              Broncos v Tigers on the nine coverage at about 56 minutes.

              I commented on the Roar blog and Joe (who is arguably the most level headed Roarer) confirmed he had heard it too.

              Hard Yards makes it three…

              • Columnist

                March 26th 2018 @ 12:30pm
                Tim Gore said | March 26th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                Thanks Baz

              • Columnist

                March 26th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Tim Gore said | March 26th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                Were you and Joe (Frost?) watching 9 or Fox?

              • Roar Guru

                March 26th 2018 @ 12:58pm
                The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                It was the nine coverage.

                Not sure of Joe’s last name. He’s just Joe here…with the purple storm trooper avatar

              • Roar Rookie

                March 26th 2018 @ 1:16pm
                Bunney said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

                I heard it too.
                It drew an immediate wince from me…

              • Roar Guru

                March 26th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                That’s four…!

              • Roar Guru

                March 26th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                Nat said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                YEP! I just went back to 9now and streamed it. Clear as day at 55:45 “I think we’ve evened (maybe equaled) up the sets now” Looking at the replay, it was touch n go on whether it was a penalty but those words were uttered.

            • Roar Guru

              March 26th 2018 @ 11:28am
              Emcie said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              Broncs Tigers. Didn’t notice it on the Fox broadcast, might have been a Channel 9 guy in the background

            • Columnist

              March 26th 2018 @ 1:38pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

              I think you know what your article needs to be about this week, Tim!

              • Roar Guru

                March 26th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                I hope he remembers us when he wins his Walkley award…

            • Columnist

              March 26th 2018 @ 3:16pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              Give him a ‘halle-bloody-lujah’ and maybe he will!!

        • Roar Rookie

          March 26th 2018 @ 12:45pm
          steveng said | March 26th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          True ‘Hard Yards’ if the NRL wants to keep GP (which I don’t and I’m fiercely against it) then, change GP to first try only and scrap the FG! That will keep everyone satisfied and more games will end up in a draw and we won’t have to go through all the frustrations, like we did with the Broncos vs Tigers and many other games that ended in GP. I think that is a fairer result then this FG nonsense and controversial penalties, that win a game.

      • March 26th 2018 @ 9:28am
        Chui said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        He’s too busy at the moment inventing double standards with salary cap breaches

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 2:21pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        He did come on my podcast last year and answer plenty of my questions!

        • March 26th 2018 @ 2:40pm
          Jacko said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Can you get him back on to explain why all ther salary cap breaches have attracted points deductions and the Manly one hasn’t?

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2018 @ 9:27am
      Wayne Lovell said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      I would go so far as to say that Gus Gould is the single most damaging influence to the game of rugby league today. The rest of the nine crew have a hell of a lot to answer for too. Week in and week out, when their obvious preferred team loses, there is a some type of controversy usually referee based. The frenzy that is whipped up by people who believe the hype, has staunch league supporters ripping the game to shreds. All because the (usually biased) commentary team’s interpretation was slightly different to the referees. Is it any wonder that coaches jump on this bandwagon if it will protect their players? Personal responsibility and sportsmanship are what dies from our game with this type of thinking. The sooner we give the referees back the respect they deserve, the better off we’ll be. They are trained to know the game better than us. Their interpretations are as much a part of the game as the goal posts. There is nothing wrong with our refs. There is everything wrong with sheep who blame them because their team wasn’t good enough on the day.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2018 @ 9:32am
        The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Well said Wayne…

      • March 26th 2018 @ 9:56am
        Big Daddy said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Well spoken like a true referee.
        Because Gus speaks some truths no one likes it.
        The NRL demand the the perfect game well so do the public and the fans.
        Because there is so much betting on matches and the referee is deciding a match is not a good look.

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 10:07am
          Emcie said | March 26th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          I can respect Gus’s insight into the game, but his opinions in a commentary capacity change game by game

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 10:56am
          Wayne Lovell said | March 26th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

          That’s the point though, accept that the refs interpretation is superior to yours, especially if they’re not the same. Accept those differences are part of the game. Accept this and the game is perfect, like it used to be. Referees don’t decide matches. That’s the type of mindless dribble I’m talking about.

          Gus doesn’t speak the truth he speaks an antiquated load of agenda filled rubbish 99% of the time. He tries to make himself sound important by ripping into our game.

          • Roar Guru

            March 26th 2018 @ 11:30am
            The Barry said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            Yep…yesterday Ah Mau tackled James high. Ref blew a penalty.

            Gus gave it the old “got him around the neck, not much in that” line…

            • March 26th 2018 @ 4:51pm
              RandyM said | March 26th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              ah mau also had a swinging arm – probably should have gone on report, gus is a fool

      • March 26th 2018 @ 11:01am
        Mick said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        The issue with how Gus Gould want the game refereed is that he wants referees to use ‘feel’ for the game. He said after the Broncos Tigers game about the penalty that won the game something along the lines ‘Letter of the law is it a penalty, I don’t care’. The NRL is never going to have consistency is every referee is expected to use their ‘feel’ for the game. I actually like the game has been referred this year, cracking down on play the balls and players off side. Its been a blight on the game for too long. Even though the ref got the call wrong on Friday night, I think it is a positive that he had the courage to blow a penalty in golden point (of course thats easy for me to say, when it wasn’t my team that lost). For years fans have complained about teams blatantly breaking the rules in golden point, knowing the refs won’t give a penalty.

        On golden point I’d like to see it changed to ‘First to four’. It is essentially golden try, except two penalty goal also wins the game. If it was just golden try, teams could continually give away penalties knowing it doesn’t matter. I’d also like to see wins in the NRL worth four points, draws two each and three points for winning in extra time, the losing team getting one point.

        • March 26th 2018 @ 5:23pm
          John said | March 26th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

          Jeez reffing based on the “feel” of the game? Did Gould really say that? That’s not going to open a can of worms if the refs ever took that on board. Then the punters and commentators will be arguing over more useless subjective stuff like whether the feel was right or not.

          • March 26th 2018 @ 6:01pm
            Forty Twenty said | March 26th 2018 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

            I’m pretty sure Gould did say that and all he is doing is being realistic. Reffing isn’t all science , it has artistic elements as well.

            A ref might blow a 10 metre penalty early in a game when the player is only slightly off side to establish a bench mark for the game.

            In a GF the same player might be slightly off side towards the end of extra time while carrying an injury , fatigued and not moving up at all having no effect on the play. I’m happy for the ref to decide that the offside penalty to decide the GF when it has zero effect on the play is not a fair thing to do..
            Are you saying the ref should blow a penalty every single time he sees one? Incorrect feed in the scrum, winger on the other side of the field to the play 3 inches off side, tackling a player catching a kick who is one inch off the ground and the tackle is deliberately soft as to not hurt the opponent? All of these are to be penalised every single time a ref sees them?

      • Roar Rookie

        March 26th 2018 @ 11:53am
        steveng said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        Wayne Lovell, if your analysation is so correct then why don’t we experience ‘there is some type of controversy usually referee based’ with other sports? There are referees based controversy’s in every sport but, I have never ever seen so many matches that are/have been influenced and made null and void by referees as I’ve seen in the NRL! And this has happened over many years, be it in the NRL comp and in SOO! There has to be some accountability and lets not put our heads in the sand and blame coaches, players and commentators. Have a look at the 2018 season so far, we are in round 3, there is an average of 19 penalties per game which relates to an average stoppage of every 3.3 minutes of every 80min game and it will get worst the way that we are going in 2018. How can any sane spectator be satisfied with that and continue to come to NRL games. Fans and spectators don’t go to an NRL game to watch a referees showcase and blow their peas out of their whistles, they go to see good footy and talent and that is why they pay big money to go and watch the NRL!

        This is the simple fact that makes my blood and many fans blood boil, the total frustration of watching any NRL game is Valium based and fans are dreading what will be on the cards for their teams next games, this is from week to week, they are deserting this game in droves. Lucky that we have other sports that we can switch over (while watching the NRL on TV) while these frustrating moments of the NRL are so prevalently witnessed, so we can get our sanity back. I’ve always said, ‘Let the Game Flow’ and let the game sort its self out, yes, apply rules but, as we have done so often and in the modern game (with replays and slow-mo etc) the game hasn’t been improved its been made into this petty and uncontrollable mess that even a blatant ‘no try’ like the Bird try in the Broncos vs Tigers people argue that it was a try? This is getting unbelievably petty and uncontrollable and there is no hope if we continue on this path!

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2018 @ 1:05pm
          Wayne Lovell said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

          Umm, if you don’t blow penalties then you aren’t applying rules. I’m stoked that they’re blowing the penalties. Who are you and your like going to blame when your team loses if the refs don’t blow penalties?

          The ref is never wrong. You are. The ref is God, you (meaning the fans, commentary etc etc) are just a less educated opinion. The ref is the all-seeing, all-knowing, holder and blower of the whistle. As much a part of the game as the grass and the posts. Callers of the game should call the game not attack it’s integrity and whip up the small minded into a frenzy.

          The problem is not that the ref could be wrong, it’s that people think they know better than the ref and that somehow there’s something wrong with the game because their opinion isn’t being validated.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 26th 2018 @ 1:57pm
            steveng said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            Wayne, you have outlined the precise problem of this game! No one is saying that the rules should not be applied but, when the rules are so petty and hold up and stop the game every 3min with 20+ penalties every game, there is a problem and fans are frustratingly made to watch a game that is not a spectacle but a disaster and with allot of problems! Don’t blame the players, coaches and commentators, we are beyond that, blame the whole culture of how this game has evolved in its modern state. If you want perfection then why doesn’t the NRL call every controversial play up to the bunker? They have all the technology and expertise do that and they don’t, why are games being decided so controversial and the list goes on and on and on. The fans are not happy and the NRL are complicating and frustrating their fan more and more, that is my gripe with the whole thing and that is why fans are leaving the game in droves. Why isn’t the AFL having the same problems? Why does the AFL get 90k worth of fans at an opening game while the NRL cant even get a 1/4 of that to a top comp game e.g. last week in Melbourne with their champion side the Storm. The NRL is in trouble if they have to revert to referees getting them out of trouble and into a bigger mess.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 26th 2018 @ 2:53pm
              Bunney said | March 26th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

              Steveng, I suggest you have a Bex and a lie down.

              Then come back and read what you wrote.

              “Don’t błame the players…or the coaches…” for penalties. Blame the refs.
              Have you ever played the game??

              The refs penalise players who break the rules. If they break them every 3min 20sec, then the ref is obliged to blow the whistle every 3min 20sec.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 26th 2018 @ 6:23pm
                steveng said | March 26th 2018 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

                ‘Bunney’ with all due respect, first of all, I have never ever used ‘Bex” for anything lol and I’ve played RL for many many years. Through the unlimited tackle rules, through the 4 tackle rules, and I’m even going back to the days when ‘Hollywood Hartley’ was refing junior league in the Eastern Suburbs comp and way before he refed 1st grade and became ‘Hollywood Hartley’ lol. Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve played but, I’ve been watching this wonderful game for many many years and I have deep passion for it (like 60 years and always a Bunnies die hard) but, and what I’m trying so painfully to get across is, that the game has changed for the worst with the refereeing together with the many petty rules changes and this is on top of the NRL having such an immense talent of players.

                I’ll just give you some examples, the 2 refs (who each interpret the game differently) e.g. one calls one thing and the other ignores and does another, the slow-mo, the obstruction rule(s), the GP, the forward passes etc etc which is all adding unnecessary pressure and scrutiny onto the players and referees in the modern game. They have spent multi millions on the ‘Bunker’ and the silly thing is hardly used, why? These are the things that are causing the 3.3min stoppages, inconsistencies (because of the continual and the changing attention to different rules) and of policing certain rules that together cause confusion and uncertainty in the game and to the referees continually having to police these. It’s a huge load, especially when the game has become so fast and so furious. For me, this is the main cause and reason of why the NRL has become so has unattractive and a frustrating game to watch! ‘Bunney’ if you haven’t noticed or realised that then ‘I suggest you have a Bex and a lie down’ and have a gander at some of the old games of yesteryears and learn how RL was played and how the NRL should take some of the history of RL and implement it into the modern game!

              • Roar Rookie

                March 27th 2018 @ 12:40am
                Bunney said | March 27th 2018 @ 12:40am | ! Report


                Thanks for your reply – I appreciate your story / background. It honestly makes me listen a bit more to the other aspects of your post. But there are some bits that don’t make sense to me sorry. You bemoan the high number of penalties and the ensuing stoppages, but then wonder why they don’t use the bunker more…which would cause even more stoppages.

                I didn’t play a lot (wasn’t very good at the time!) – but when I did the ref and the touchies were God. They said you were offside, not square, whatever, you stayed out of the play or were penalised. And if they didn’t follow through, us players would continue bending the rules.

                That’s why I think the way I do about refs blowing penalties – they are only adjudicating on what the players do. Thus, I think the onus is squarely on the players.

                For certain, there are occasionally performances by individual refs that boggle the mind and are unacceptably poor. But generally, my biggest fault with refs is they don’t blow the whistle enough. Playing the ball at 45 degrees, rolling the ball between the legs without ANY effort to actually play the ball (before this year), forward passes, re-doing a scrum 3 times because it wasn’t done properly, and the third time they let it go despite it being exactly the same as the first two efforts. We used to see captains deliberately time waste when under pressure by strolling over to the ref for a chat – thankfully that’s been reduced, but it really grates me when the ref stops play after a team deliberately concedes multiple penalties on the line to warn ‘No more, or I’ll send someone to the bin’ when that’s EXACTLY what the team giving away the penalties wants – a breather!

                I think the refs should be empowered to penalise as they see fit without fear. Unfortunately (IMO), commentators like Gus and Joey Johns blast the refs for blowing too many penalties – when they should be upping the players who are giving them away!

                A few years ago, a player would be penalised for not hearing a held call and playing on. The penalty was excessively harsh, and the refs were bagged when they did or didn’t call it. So they altered the rule to allow the team to maintain possession and play the ball back where they should of. Their penalty is the very slow play the ball which allows the defensive line get set. Now, because the penalty is more commensurate with the crime, hardly anyone cares when it happens.

                If the penalties are too harsh, change the rules / outcome. That way the refs can just do their job, of keeping players in line.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 26th 2018 @ 4:04pm
              Matthew Pearce said | March 26th 2018 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

              If players don’t break the rules, they don’t get penalised. Simple.

              • March 26th 2018 @ 7:32pm
                Forty Twenty said | March 26th 2018 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

                Except for the times when they don’t break the rules and do get penalised, complicated.

                Bernie Sutton can fill you in on the details.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 26th 2018 @ 8:40pm
                Matthew Pearce said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

                Maybe if players weren’t so eager to break the rules every second tackle, it’d be easier to differentiate.

                Players are still the ones accountable.

              • March 26th 2018 @ 9:01pm
                Forty Twenty said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                No you are wrong, when a player does nothing wrong and still gets penalised and his team loses the game then it is the referee who is responsible.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 26th 2018 @ 9:47pm
                Matthew Pearce said | March 26th 2018 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

                What could you possibly be referring to there, I wonder…

                Again, if it wasn’t standard practice to bend/break the rules, obviously “incorrect” calls would actually stand out more. Actually recognising that there’s such a thing as 50/50 calls, and that they’re indeed 50/50 in nature, not just “clearly” what you see them as, also helps.

                Besides, “does nothing wrong”? I thought the issue was supposed to be about consistency. Making it about “we wuz innocent” is just blatant whinging.

              • March 26th 2018 @ 11:02pm
                Forty Twenty said | March 26th 2018 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

                50/50 calls are not hard to understand at all. Cleary thought the call was wrong and inconsistent , Sutton agreed and said it was wrong.

                If you declare that to be blatant whinging then we will have to agree to disagree.

                Open debate doesn’t involve agreeing with every decision a ref makes because it confirms your status as a non whinger. Sutton has taken the right approach and that is the way to progress, well done to Sutton.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 26th 2018 @ 1:20pm
        Bunney said | March 26th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        Correct Wayne. Gus lamenting that they don’t have a feel for the game is ludicrous. It’s the players responsibility to play within the rules, and the refs to penalise if they don’t.

        Andrew John’s is another. He blasts refs for blowing penalties and halting the flow…but it’s the players fault!

        • Roar Rookie

          March 26th 2018 @ 6:37pm
          steveng said | March 26th 2018 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

          You’re just knocking two of the greats of our game with nonsense, Gould and John’s know what they are talking about, the referees have no idea, I’m sure that most of them should have joined the highway patrol! Its a pity that many who knock Gould and John’s and may of the old boys, don’t know what this game was like and how it was refereed and played in the past and that is why this game is being ruined like it is and is becoming very frustrating to watch and probably the old ‘Bex’ should be reintroduced as a sedative! lol

          • Roar Rookie

            March 27th 2018 @ 12:48am
            Bunney said | March 27th 2018 @ 12:48am | ! Report

            We’ll have to agree to disagree then Steveng – I’ve watched some old footy and just like today, some matches are excellent while some are dogs to watch.

            It has been proven that humans tend to remember the past in a better light than it really was, e.g. nostalgia. I think this might explain at least something of your views, which seems to be that everything old was good and everything new is bad.

            Cheer up – the Bunnies destroyed Manly on Saturday!

            • Roar Rookie

              March 27th 2018 @ 11:24am
              steveng said | March 27th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              Thanks Bunney, I love the modern game, the players are unbelievable athletes and they exhibit the pinnacle of what RL should be all about! I’m not and never ever been against progress and/or evolution but, I’ve always called a spade a spade and in todays game (as I see it) the refereeing and petty rule changes and the selective implementations of them, are the only problem(s) that I see with our wonderful game today. I love RL and have been a die hard since I’ve been a young boy, I’ve played RL for 20 years from the late 50’s! The Bunnies are a different story, yes, they destroyed Manly last Saturday but, lets see how long that will last? lol hopefully they will continue in their path to get into the 8 this year? Go the Bunnies!

      • March 26th 2018 @ 6:34pm
        Danny said | March 26th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

        I had this same convo with my old man on the weekend. It frustrates me no end, as a life long fan of rugby league I wish these guys could be a bit more positive about our game.

      • Columnist

        March 26th 2018 @ 8:38pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | March 26th 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

        Could not have put this better myself, Wayne.

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