Errant touch judge admits he stopped watching games long ago because of bad refereeing

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert


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    Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was not happy with the latest refereeing gaffe. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

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    The sideline official at the centre of Friday’s controversy in Cronulla has admitted he wasn’t concentrating before the botched try, mainly because he no longer watches games due to the poor standard of refereeing.

    Speaking from witness protection, he blamed the penalty crackdown for becoming another disillusioned fan who vowed weekly to never watch rugby league again until the refereeing was fixed, despite continuing to watch rugby league every weekend.

    The admission comes after the NRL reprimanded the official following his role in Cronulla’s 28-24 defeat of the Raiders at Shark Park, a loss which ended Canberra’s season for the third time this year.

    For those not witnesses to the timeless moment in question, it involved the home side being awarded a game-clinching try to Sione Katoa by The Bunker, despite an unprecedented strain of cacophonous refereeing snafu in the lead-up.

    This involved the touch judge incorrectly raising his flag as the Sharks moved the ball wide, triggering a stunning chain of events that irredeemably changed mankind as we know it.

    Believing play had been stopped, Katoa strolled through a static defensive line as Canberra players stood idle, much like Blake Austin usually does but with good reason.

    Pundits have raged for days in the aftermath, with many conservatively labelling the moment the most egregious decision by officialdom since Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement.

    The tragic result left a fuming Canberra side marooned three wins out of the eight and needing results to go their way to make finals, the same position they’ve been in since January 1997.

    The NRL immediately reprimanded the sideline official in question after the game and is tipped to be stood down for breaching touch judge protocol by intervening in a match.

    The league used the opportunity to reiterate their position on touch judges, confirming their only two roles are as line call arbiters, and patsies for organisational shortcomings.

    But the governing body were at pains to stress the referees weren’t in crisis despite the mortifying mistake, believing all officials can improve by following Gavin Badger’s lead and growing a beard, or by simply marrying a Sutton.

    Gerard Sutton

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    However, the concession from top office was cold comfort for a fuming Ricky Stuart, who declared that due to ongoing referee errors he will not attend Origin next year.

    The contrite touchie has since admitted to the crime of stupidly using his flag, conceding his error in focus could be traced back to abandoning rugby league after his calls were ignored for heads to roll, such as his own.

    He conceded while not running the line, he spent his weekends lashing his own performances on Twitter with poorly-spelt posts tagging various tabloid journalists in the hope of approval.

    The official also claimed had he not been an accredited rugby league touch judge, he would’ve bought an A-League membership long ago because “heaps of people I know” are transferring to football because they have no problems with their refereeing.

    He also confirmed he’d approached the referees boss to concede he no longer watched rugby league and was immediately promoted.

    Todd Greenberg was approached for comment but was unavailable while sizing up another bus.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:15am
      Paul said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      This should have been a conspiracy story about the NRLs attempt to keep Ricky Stuart’s blood pressure at an all time high through the selective use of average/poor/bad/atrocious refereeing decisions. As Ricky the Groin pointed out, Canberra gets treated differently by refs, a statement refuted by one of the Sutton clan, which caused Stuart’s bp to spike 40 points higher.

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:41am
      punter said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Great stuff Dane

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:22am
      Womblat said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Yeah good article, made me smirk with that quirky Eldridge take on life. But we’d be remiss to just have a laugh about it.

      That touchie made a single, solitary mistake by putting his flag up. That can’t be undone but it had every opportunity to be dealt with correctly. The on-field ref did just that, by no-trying it. The whole thing was salvageable right then and there. Then the bunker absolutely wrecked it by making their own decision and overruling everyone. At best, they had insufficent evidence to overturn the on field decision. But they overruled anyway. Their job was never to do that. It was a gross overstep of authority.

      And in the worst display of modern millennial management, they throw this touchie under the bus. The term “scapegoat” has never been more clearly illustrated.

      We can have our light moments about the whole thing but we should remember that touchie who is in agony right now, the Raiders who have watched a whole season’s work snatched away before their eyes by an arrogant decision, and a city seething with disappointment.

      • July 24th 2018 @ 1:50pm
        nearkurnell said | July 24th 2018 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        to be fair, Canberra’s season was over a long time ago and not due to a few calls against them. Good teams win when it matters and if the Raiders can’t take ownership of their results then they might as well give the game away…..

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:48am
      kk said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Hi Dane,

      Breaking the good news. Eldridge to advise Suttons (plural).

      Now that Ricky is in the Hall of Fame we can expect more impersonations of RG Menzies as a
      forerunner to his entry into politics. You can back it in that Tim Gore will be his campaign manager.

      Did you know that MacFarlane’s spelt bread is the preferred sandwich cover of the Bunker men.
      It helps to promote vision and decision making. Must have run out early last Friday.

      The C v C game had my mind in a fizz as though being transported to the Woolooware Paradiso
      to watch a Chaplin classic remake in Todd AO. One usher blew a whistle, two waved flags.

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:55am
      kk said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Hi Dane,

      Computer malfunction

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:58am
        kk said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Excellent read.

    • Roar Guru

      July 23rd 2018 @ 9:59am
      DingoGray said | July 23rd 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      I only see one solution,

      Gus Gould has to be immediately placed on every touch line in Australia

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