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New refs' boss tries to clear up confusion

"What are the acceptable reasons for awarding a try from 'obstruction'?" ... new referees boss Daniel Anderson.

"What are the acceptable reasons for awarding a try from 'obstruction'?" ... new referees boss Daniel Anderson. Photo: Getty Images

THE benefit-of-the-doubt rule, grounding and obstruction are the priorities of the new referees boss Daniel Anderson, judging by a survey put together by him and bound for NRL coaches.

Just a week after his appointment as the referees' boss, Anderson has has sought the advice of the coaching fraternity on some of his top priorities.

Fairfax Media has obtained a copy of the email that was destined for the coaches, one which covers everything from the more contentious rules and interpretations to improvements in the communication between the on-field officials and the captains.

"I think they've still got so much potential and so much improvement" ... Andrew Johns on Manly's Kieran Foran, left, and Daly Cherry-Evans.

"I think they've still got so much potential and so much improvement" ... Andrew Johns on Manly's Kieran Foran, left, and Daly Cherry-Evans. Photo: Getty Images

In the email, Anderson asks the coaches their views on the role of the video referee, as well as their opinion of the benefit of the doubt in judging on a try ruling.

Anderson has made no secret of his desire to reassess the interpretation of benefit of the doubt to the attacking side, which means a video referee has to be 100 per cent certain a try has not been scored to disallow it.

''That [benefit of the doubt] is obviously something that needs to be looked at,'' Anderson said following his appointment. ''If a person watches it, 99 per cent of the people go, 'I don't think that's a try' - I'm cheering that it's not a try. I don't want the 1 per cent

decision to be the norm. I don't even want it to be used. I want the 99 per cent decision to be used. That's just common sense to me.''

Anderson also asked the coaches in the email to them: ''In the process of awarding try, what indicators would you consider imperative in 'grounding'?''

Another potential target for Anderson is the obstruction rule, which became confusing for coaches as well as players and supporters through last season.

''What are the acceptable reasons for awarding a try from 'obstruction'?'' Anderson asked.

Anderson, the former Warriors and Parramatta coach, also asks generally: ''What rules are creating frustrations amongst players and/or coaches?''

The email also asked for opinions ''on the role [and any suggested improvements]'' of the two-referee system, as well as touch judges.

Anderson, too, sought feedback from the coaches on their ''expectation of me in regards to communication in your post-game evaluation''.

Having taken over from Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper last week, Anderson made no secret of his desire to consult the coaches about possible rule and interpretation changes, and he made no apologies for doing so. He told Triple M shortly after his appointment: ''They are intelligent people … there will be some altruistic motives and altruistic suggestions, but I have faith in coaches that the good of the game can surpass their own ideologies.''

■ They've both won premierships and represented their country, but Manly halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans have only scratched the surface, says newly-crowned Immortal Andrew Johns.

Johns said the youthful Sea Eagles pairing had plenty of improvement left in them - having taken on a coaching consultant role with Manly, and in particular their playmakers.

''My big job is to work with the halves and their kicking game especially,'' Johns said. ''I think they've still got so much potential and so much improvement. The best thing is they want to improve also, which is exciting to come in and work with them. I think they can go to another level in the next couple of years.''

with AAP

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