NRL football chief Graham Anasley launched an enthusiastic defense of the controversial bunker when asked to cancel it by league legends.
The video review system took a beating over the weekend for a highly controversial decision during Thursday’s clash between Newcastle and Brisbane, where the Broncos made an attempt despite a clear hurdle.
At that time, and in the days that followed, Rugby League greats, including Andrew Johns, Billy Slater, and Brad Fitler, questioned Bunker’s involvement in the games.
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Johns was particularly strong, labeling the barrier as “ridiculous” and claiming that Bunker had introduced more “howllers” into the NRL instead of simply eliminating them.
Earlier this month, Riders coach Ricky Stewart also called for the bunker to be completely unoccupied, a suggestion that has been repeated by various scholars over the years.
Annely appeared dirty on the allegation that the specific call was a “howler” and told Monday’s media pack on uncertain terms that Bunker was here to stay.
“There’s a suggestion … that we need to get rid of the bunker. We should either get rid of it completely, which I heard, or we should get it back to its original use, which was to try to score,” said one enthusiastic Annesley. .
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“I don’t think it reflects the reality of expectations in general these days.
“Can you imagine what the drama would be like if referees were missing foul play – people would say ‘we have the technology, why aren’t we using it?’
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“If we get rid of the bunker completely, can you imagine the referees trying to rule out some of these acrobatic attempts to score in the corner? It’s almost impossible to do it with the naked eye.
“There were 148 (captain’s) challenges this season, 73 of which were successful (to overturn the referee’s decision) – so if we don’t use technology for the captain’s challenge, there have been 73 decisions so far this year that would have been otherwise wrong.
“Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.
“It’s nice to look at the past with rose-colored glasses and say, ‘We could do without the bunker, why can’t we go back to it?’ -There is definition coverage, each game has eight or nine cameras around the field, the commentators of each game are differentiating it.
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“Can you imagine what it would be like if we didn’t use bunkers in these few instances to make sure some of these kinds of debates didn’t completely invade our game?
“Intensive investigation comes with this coverage, and Bunker helps us avoid many problems that would otherwise be ours.”
Anasley said the NRL must keep pace with other major sports codes around the world, most of which use some sort of video review system to assist match officials.
“It’s unrealistic to expect the game to go on a professional level these days without the help of technology,” he said.
“Every major game, or most major game, has some kind of technical support from around the world playing at the professional level, and that’s the way the world is.”
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