Tuesday 17 August 2010

Mark Gasnier's 'Try'... 5 Frames that should see the Benefit of the Doubt Rule go to the Defending Team.

|=| Mark Gasnier's 'Try'... 5 Frames that should see the Benefit of the Doubt go to the Defending Team.

On the SMH Sport & Style Blog today - Ben Coady suggested that the NRL swap to the NFL's 'break the plane' rule for Touchdowns.

His blog was a reaction to the highly dubious call by Video Referee Bill Harrigan to award Mark Gasnier a try against Manly in the 30th minute of their Round 23 clash.

You can view the video highlights of the game below but the following picture has 5 Frames that tell the story.

Harrigan has since been stood down by the NRL for his error... he will be back in the Video Referee's box by the Finals - you can put money on that - but interestingly he takes the fall for a succession of errors by On-Field & Video Referees this year that don't appear to cease anytime soon.
This was my response on the Sport & Style blog... it sums up how I feel about a number of issues relating to the officiating of the game right now.


I assuming your suggested 'break the plane' solution is somewhat tongue in cheek... because it will simply add to the confusion (i.e. did 1cm of the football cross the line?) in a situation that quite frankly isn't that hard to get right.

If you want to make it work - change benefit of the doubt to the defending team and then we'll get the right call far more often.

I cannot understand how we can give a try for something that MIGHT have happened... unless we see that a Try HAS happened - NO TRY!

The alternative to that is to bring back to the in-goal touch judges, who if memory serves me correctly - didn't exactly suck at their job without replay after replay after replay like the current group of video refs.

What bugs me most in all of this is how many NRL Rules that referees either ignore or police inconsistently - when ALL of these are so easily policed. Just a few are 'Walking off the Mark', 'Feeding the Scrum Incorrectly', 'Players not even binding in the Scrum and then breaking half an hour early' & 'off-side from kick-offs & goal-line drop outs'.

That's just to name a few rules and every single one of the above are so easily policed when you have 2 Referees, 2 Touch Judges & a Video Referee watching the game... yet they keep failing to enforce rules that are enforceable.

It boggles the mind!

|=| Round 23 NRL Game Highlights |=|
- St.George-Illawarra Dragons v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles -

One final idea that may at least bring some consistency in is to create a 'Central NRL Video Refereeing Panel'. In the National Hockey League - they have a Central Control Room based out of NHL Headquarters in Toronto, Canada - every time there is a disputed goal, the on-ice referees send it to the Control Room and the decision is made by a select group based at the HQ.

We now have the technology to implement something like this if the NRL decided to go down that route - but clearly if we had some common sense applied to the Benefit of the Doubt rule for a start - we'd get so many more decisions right!

Rather than 'possibly right' which is a directive that the NRL seems to embrace... a decision that makes Rugby League look very ordinary indeed.

Over to you:
React on the blog or via The NRL Tweet.

Q1: How would you solve this issue - particularly the Video Referee?

Q2: Do you agree that the benefit of the doubt should go to the Defending Team?

Q3: Should we bring back In-Goal Touch Judges?

Q4: What do you think of the 'Central Video Referee' concept?