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A bad week to be a NRL referee

Set of Six

Self aware: Jamal Idris.

Self aware: Jamal Idris.

1. Back to one

South Sydney chief Shane Richardson says it's time to go back to one referee. There was intense drama surrounding the match officials at GIO Stadium on Sunday with Canberra penalised as they scored a try, only for the penalty to be reversed on the advice of the video officials.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart described the officiating as ''rot'' and the decision as ''a clanger''. ''I'm a big supporter of going back to one referee,'' Richardson said. ''Two referees was a reaction to wrestling, of which there is much less now. I don't believe we have the depth for two referees, and it cannot be sustained internationally. We should all be playing under one set of rules everywhere; adding eight referees each weekend … hurts your depth and overall quality.''

2. You said it, not me

What did Jamal Idris mean when he told Set Of Six this, when asked about Origin selection, as he left GIO Stadium: ''If I'm going to play, I've got to be ready in my own head. This is my ninth game back. I started off all right. I'm my own harshest critic and everything I do, I always protect myself more than anyone else can. When I play, I want to be at my best.''

So ''Jammer'' doesn't believe he's ready for Origin? ''I wouldn't say that! That's what you said! I've made my statement. You can take it whichever way you want.'' Idris tried a wild pass near his own line on one occasion and was caught with the ball on the last, kicking it desperately, on another. Both times he came up smelling of roses - the Panthers defended his mistake and got a reset tackle count from his kick.

3. Going Green

Paul Green has empowered Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, inspiring North Queensland's mid-season emergence and making the Maroons a more threatening Origin prospect, according to the always refreshingly honest James Tamou.

Scott, he says, has ''definitely stood up as more of a leader this year''. ''Greeny's taking him more into account as co-captain … They have meetings just about daily, the leadership group. Last year, [Scott] didn't talk as much; 'King' [Neil Henry] did most of the talking. Greeny's given them a free rein. Sometimes, 'Thumper' and Johnno will take our sessions. Greeny, being an ex-player, knows how we think.'' The NSW prop said the form of Scott made him ''very, very nervous''.

4. Sydney syndrome

It would take a feature over many pages to sum up all the cultural differences between the Origin programs of NSW and Queensland. While Maroons coach Mal Meninga took the moral high ground on Friday night in saying on Triple M he would have sacked Mitchell Pearce for bad behaviour, the Maroons' position on Ben Te'o - heavily linked to French rugby in 2015 - is also worthy of note. NSW and Australia pick a team ''with a view to the future'', generally overlooking players bound for other codes. Queensland, who included Israel Folau when he was about to switch codes, only choose one to win. Try as NSW might to simplify things, Sydney is just too political, complicated and bitchy for them to ever manage it.

5. Phantom fans

Seeing the odd public service missing persons notice on the big screen at a sporting event isn't that unusual. But the Broncos have taken to posting one for 5000 people at their home games.

The Broncos now post two attendance figures for Suncorp Stadium matches: the number of tickets sold and the number of people who actually show up. On Friday, the figures were 31,380 on hand and 37,022 sold. The missing people, the club believes, are stadium members, people given tickets by sponsors and those put off by the weather. All of which raises the question: Which figure do other NRL clubs post?

6. Raiders of lost art

Even in the depths of despair, Canberra can't help but be nice. After decrying ''rot'' and ''shit'' from officials in a game he did admit his side cost itself, Ricky Stuart cut his press conference short on Sunday and didn't do the customary radio interviews.

Stuart feared he would say something he might regret. The club's initial position was that no players would be speaking either. But after being reminded that media guidelines don't allow for the result to have an impact on availability, the Raiders promptly ''put up'' Dane Tilse for a chat. Tilse was polite and helpful. We're not sure how many other clubs would have done likewise in the same situation. It's believed the guidelines are being rewritten by the new NRL regime.


  • Sigh...there's much less wrestling now because there are two refs. Go back to one ref and guess what? Wrestling. And guess what else, people were still complaining about refs before when there was only one.

    The problem isn't that there is two refs, and personally I like the fact that the ruck is cleaner (even though I'm sure blokes like Cam Smith and the Melbourne Storm dont), the problem is consistency.

    There's a lot of subjectivity in Rugby League because there are so many things happening at once. We will therefore never reach the nirvana of officiating and there will always be complaints. Make sure all the are refs professionals focused on improving their consistency and the level of complains will go down. And that's the best you can hope for.

    Date and time
    May 18, 2014, 10:43PM
    • The referees are a disgrace. The dragons were bad on Saturday, nevertheless they had 2 perfectly good tries disallowed in the first half which would have had them at least level at half time. Everyone knows that footy these days is all about momentum!

      Date and time
      May 19, 2014, 7:48AM
      • Richardson's line makes no sense at all. Reducing 1st grade refereeing opportunities from 16 each week to 8 will increase depth? Seriously? The fact is that the number of active referees with first grade experience has never been greater. Ever.

        The two referee system is being used as a scapegoat for long standing and perhaps unsolvable problems. The foremost of which is that the referees are human. They make mistakes, they get tired, they call line ball decisions inconsistently. Going back to one referee isn't going to solve any of these. But it will mean more things get missed because there is one less set of eyes on the field and it will mean the ref is caught out of position more often.

        Tony Archer has made a significant adjustment to the two ref system this year to address the argument of inconsistency between the two refs within a single game. He has moved from a system of co-equal refs that share control of the game to a system of head ref and assistant ref where the head ref assumes control whenever possible. A statistic I'd love to see is the percentage of tackles where the head ref is in control. Anything north of 80-90% must surely put an end to the argument that the two ref system is the cause massive inconsistency in calls.

        For those who insist on complaining about the refs, it comes down to this simple challenge. Name the era when the standard of refereeing was consistently better top to bottom (not just the top referee). Every single year we hear the same tired old line that the refereeing is worse than ever. Which must mean it was at its peak in Round 1, 1908. Does anyone really believe that?


        Zythrn Quidgybo
        Dallas, TX
        Date and time
        May 19, 2014, 10:23AM
        • Fantastic comment.

          Anyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon (and don't people love a bandwagon, coz thinking for yourself is hard apparently) and complain about the two refereeing system should read this comment!

          Or have it read to them.

          Or have it read to them and then explained with pictures.

          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 10:53AM
        • Agree. However, I think the refs are let down by an inept NRL that can't seem to help making simple matters extremely complicated, eg the referral system, lifting, shoulder charge etc. One great example is the defending player can apparently dump the attacking player on their heads in an aerial contest without infringing. I think better coaching/advising of refs could help. In AFL/Rugby there is more emphasis placed on the reason behind the rule, such as protecting the man going for the ball/not slowing down the ruck/making a proper and safe tackle. Someone got into the referees heads not so long ago about 'key indicators' which removes an instinctive interpretation. Coach referees about the spirit of the rules as much as the actual policing of the infringement. Just a thought.

          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 12:20PM
      • How can the Refs not have let the Canberra try stand until it is reviewed? They should have played advantage until they were able to do this. The Penrith hooker could be called for deliberately fouling (why was he not sent to the sin bin?) and for the penalty to go Penrith's way and then be reversed was sheer incompetence. Stuart has previously called teams for giving away penalties to slow the play down near their own line and this could be called a case of 'cheating' on Penrith hoo ker's behalf - he will be watched by all Teams from now on!

        Date and time
        May 19, 2014, 11:36AM
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