Referee, Officer, Appointment, Ashley Klein, Bunker, Paul Galen

The whistleblower, who was selected as the referee for the State of Origin opener, called it a “real myth” about the hotly contested bunker.

When asked on the radio about the communication between the referee, the touching judge and the bunker, Ashley Klein gave a clear explanation of how the various officers were grouped together.

Former New South Wales captain Paul Galen raised the question, pointing to the widely held view that bunkers have too much control over what happens on the field.

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“It’s a real myth that Bunker talks about the whole time of a game,” Klein told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.

“Bunker really only speaks when invited to a game through a challenge or a video referral and they will come when an attempt is confirmed.

“They don’t communicate in the live run of the game. The only person who communicates in the live run of the game is actually the touch judge.

“The only time the bunkers can come is to correct the number of tackles … to fix something they’ve heard is wrong.

“But, yeah, it’s just touching judges and referees talking live running games.”

Galen liked what he heard.

“There’s an idea … that the bunker is constantly talking in their ears. It’s going to kill me,” Galen said.

“(Can you imagine) trying to be a footy referee and someone in your ear telling you what to do? It’ll drive you crazy.

“So fortunately it doesn’t happen. It’s a myth.”

Klein is his ninth Origins clash referee and his first since three games in the 2019 series.

She co-starred with Shayne Hayne in her first two original appearances and Gerard Sutton in the remaining six.

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Sutton is the only person to have played an original game since the return of the one-referee system in 2020, but Klein defeated him in this year’s opener position.

Klein is looking forward to a free-flowing game at the Sydney Stadium in Australia next Wednesday night.

“It’s the goal of every referee for every game, really, not to get involved,” Klein said.

“It’s really determined by what the players deliver.

“I think it’s important that you are fair and that neither team is getting unfair advantage, and if that happens the referee will have to take action.

“Ideally, I don’t want to get involved because the parties are just moving forward with it and playing a footy of a brand for which the officer doesn’t have to set foot.

“But at the end of the day neither side can get any unfair advantage.”

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