Reports of death threats against NRL referees are reprehensible, unacceptable and it is time to call into question the real problems faced by match officials in rugby league.
I mean to ask this question for a while now. The people in charge of the elite officiating squad need to explain why we allow referees to be robots in their own language and have no feelings for the game.
This column is not aimed at field whistle blowers every weekend, it is like Tony Archer, Bernard Sutton and Jared Maxwell who have implemented a ridiculous set of guidelines that are now being used by NRL referees, just below the boys and girls running whistles in the Junior League.
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Can you believe that the refs are now being evaluated on the “core index” and if they do not blow up the fines that tick all the boxes, they can be dropped next week?
They have been told what they can and cannot say – this is a fair dictum dictatorship.
I have leaked a copy of a document that was implemented by Archer and Shane Hein as ‘Official Best Practice – National Methodology’ and it gives you an idea of why all grade officers have become refereeing and robotic.
The pressure they were on during the footy game was intense and I was amazed to read the ‘national method’ which came into effect in 2016-17 and is still used today, that referees need to identify the type of tackle and then communicate a phrase that matches the tackle .
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It’s called “Rock Vokab” and after reading the document, I’m even more confused.
Here is an example:
There are times in a match when the referee will apply a “two-step” approach to their contact with the rock. These situations include:
Identification of a “surrender tackle”
Surrender Tackle Vocab Sequence (Tackle 0-4)
When the referee identifies a “surrender tackle”, the word order for the referee will be:
1. Call “Surrender” (required)
2. Give Defender enough time, call “Stand” (required)
3. Defensive line / marker and / or ball carrier instruction
4. Call “Hold and Go” on the defensive line. When the ball is cleared it is called “Go”.
5. Tackle count (required)
Can you imagine someone like Bill Harigan being ordered to follow these guidelines when he famously declared in a State of Origin game, “Don’t talk, just go” after being branded a fraud by Gordon Talis?
I can also recall an entertaining exchange where another referee stopped a captain’s question, “Why would he hit him in the head?” With a simple but effective answer, “I don’t know, go and ask him.”
Then, the referees order the honors and enjoy the jokes with the players; Now, they are too scared to be themselves because they may find themselves in lower grades.
Roosters Premiership winner and former NRL referee Luke Phillips highlighted current governance issues in a recent interview with 2GB’s Continuous Call team when he spoke about his time on the elite program.
“As a former player you got a feeling for the game, but as you get to the grade you have to be a little more robotic and you can’t get the feeling for the game, it’s all on the index, black and white and that’s where I fell,” he said. .
“I wanted to calculate a zero-all penalty and when it ended 2-1, they would point out the penalties I should have blown during the game and explain why I let it go when I challenged them. From a footy perspective, they said it put more pressure on the referee next week.
“When I didn’t want to pay them, I got into trouble for not paying the fine.”
What has happened in terms of judging what you have in front of you, the courage of referees to make decisions and building relationships with players?
It has been in operation since 1908, but for some reason we have found past and present refereeing officials who have implemented a system that has destroyed the fabric on which some successful whistle-blowers have built their careers.
I think the time has come to review these guidelines of the NRL which have allowed the current crop of referees and those aspiring officials who are pursuing their dream of controlling the first grade game to be energized and corrupted.
Luke Phillips was also asked about net-picking in the game and the former whistle-blower said, “I can tell you, referees love to catch things, it’s in their blood. Got it, it’s just part of the referee. “
NRL needs to be questioned; Are the deadly supporters paying to watch football or a referee who is forced to blow peas on the flute?
The one-sided penalty count, lack of consistency and lack of general knowledge in rugby league has become a major frustration for coaches, players, commentators and more importantly, fans who watch NRL.
Yes, the game evolves on controversy and it will never be perfect, but the sooner we let the whistle-blowers become our own, the better.
Manly coach Des Hasler has expressed his ongoing concerns in the past and doubled down after their controversial rate to Paramatman with the announcement, “No one seems to be listening, no one seems to want to do anything about it.”
“No wonder it disappoints the teams. I don’t know if it’s white, the color of our jerseys sets us apart. Maybe we should change to green.”
Grant Atkins and Adam G are the top two officials in our game right now. For the State of Origin series if they are occupied by Ashley Klein or Gerard Sutton; “There needs to be an investigation,” Geoff was quoted as saying.
I admire ARLC Chairman Peter V’landis and NRL Boss Andrew Abdor, there are big fish to fry at the moment, but they have both managed the game, it’s time to move this classification forward and clear this mess, because it’s a gradual decline. Dog breakfast.
If you look at the definition of method in the dictionary, it says, “The branch of logic that studies logic or the way to do something. An example of method is the way to run an experiment.”
The current crop of referees and officials involved with the Junior Rugby League Referees Association who are contacting me; They feel that they have been forced to comply with the guidelines and that there is no reason why the test should be canceled.
The elephant in the NRL headquarters room is the standard of refereeing and it is not the fault of the whistle blowers themselves, it is their compliance with the guidelines of the so-called advisers.
Let me know your thoughts via an email on the WWOS radio show by clicking this link; https://form.jotform.co/70601482897867
Wide World of Sports Radio with Mark Levy and co-hosts Billy Slater (Monday), Paul Galen (Tuesday) and Brad Fitler (Wednesday) with 2GB 873am at 6pm AEDT.
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