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NRL referees are doing a great job
Andrew Johns
08:00 AEST Fri Aug 17 2012

Former Australia, New South Wales and Newcastle Knights champion halfback Andrew Johns is part of the Wide World of Sport commentary team and he will write exclusively for us in 2012.
Andrew Johns
  Have your say on NRL referees

I might be in the minority, but I actually think NRL referees are doing a good job. No one in the game comes under more scrutiny than our officials each and every week. They have their every decision analysed in slow motion, frame by frame and discussed by the experts. Some of the calls are so close, that even the experts can't give a definitive answer. Yet each week the referees turn up and do their best and get the majority of decisions perfectly right.

If the players came under as much scrutiny you'd find that even the superstars of the game make mistakes. Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, they all make mistakes that can prove costly, but you don't see their coaches blowing up at press conferences about them. It's part of the game, it's part of being human, mistakes are always going to be made, but I think the officials are doing as good a job as possible in limiting the errors.

I have a mate who played soccer at the highest levels in England and he can't believe the criticism we heap on our referees. He said if you look at the English Premier League every week and watched how the referees went, you'd see a mountain of mistakes. In the lower leagues the referees are often a joke, but everyone just gets on with the game. I think we have to be grateful for the good job the referees are doing and get on with enjoying the season as the battle for the premiership hots up.

There is going to be a trial of a captain's challenge system in a final round Toyota Cup match this year. There are going to be limitations on when a captain can make a challenge and under which circumstances. They'll be allowed one incorrect challenge per half, but as many correct ones as they like. I don't like the sound of it at all. One of the best features of our great game is the pace at which matches are played. The speed of the game is one of the things that makes it so exciting and it plays an important part in adding fatigue to the mix. I think video replays are already slowing the game down too much, so to have captains chatting to teammates before lodging their challenge, then waiting for the video referee to look at the challenge, waiting on a decision – it's heading in the wrong direction.

Reigning premiers Manly showed last week against South Sydney that they'll be right in the thick of it when the big games roll around. The Rabbitohs might have been missing Greg Inglis, but Manly were without Steve Matai, Jason King and Darcey Lussick. They showed that they have the game and determination to defend their title and contenders like Souths and Canterbury are going to have to play very well to beat them. Securing Brett Stewart on a new contract will be a huge morale boost for Manly as well. He really is at the heart of everything they do.

Manly takes on Newcastle Knights at Brookvale this Sunday in a match that is shaping up to be a real battle. These two clubs simply hate each other and it all started back when Newcastle first came into the competition. That first year they played a trial match against Manly and it was a really spiteful introduction to the big league. Ever since then it has been a clash of working class Newcastle and the silvertail Manly mob. The hate continued right through the 1997 grand final and the titanic clashes between Mark Carroll and Paul Harragon, up to today when the Knights are owned by a multi-millionaire, coached by the best in the business and have many players from outside the region. I think it will be a closer match that some would expect and it will be a true test of whether the Knights deserve to make it into the top eight and play finals football.

The other team that will have its semi-final credentials tested in a big way this weekend is Wests Tigers. Benji Marshall said during the week that he thinks a side from outside the top four can win the grand final under the new system being used this year. He believes the Tigers themselves are capable and he will have no better test of that theory than on Friday night when the Tigers take on the red-hot Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were incredible last week fighting back against the Broncos and this week they have two of their best returning in Sam Kasiano and James Graham. The way the Bulldogs play the game, these two big men act as an extra set of halves. The Bulldogs are a much better side when these two are taking on the line and slipping passes to support players and I think the Tigers are in for a tough night.


Do you think NRL referees are doing a good job?
What do you think of the proposed 'captain's challenge'?
Will Wests Tigers be a threat in the NRL finals?

User comments
That's a massive benefit of doubt if you ask fans of NRL
Refs are biggest load if bull I have ever seen tony archer especially. It is not just the refs it's the touch judges and the videio ref
Refs doing a good job, I don't think so. This year's semi final match between Canberra v Cronulla. I witnessed the worst touchie calls that I've ever seen.
Yeah right sharks would of being on top if the refs were normal I've been waiting for 45 years for sharks to win But refs keep on making crap calls go sharks
No beejay I actually live in the real world where everyone makes mistakes. Just because you get paid more doesn't instantly make you better. Coachs get sacked every year when team go bad. Maybe it's time for the ref's coach to get sacked. Have a whine to harrigan and raper
We all understand the reffs have a hard job, but let's be honest they make allot of critical mistakes. Having a player make a mistake is part of the game but having a bad decision against your team is not. Something needs to be done.
Where do you live Danny in "Fairyland".Did you not read that Rugby League is worth a cool 1.025 million dollars . Do you think seriously that the refs deserve a break after the very dismal performances last weekend. No one is suggesting that they be disrespected but they are earning a lot more money than some of the 1st grade players and the whole system needs to be addressed asap. If that makes me a whinger then the list of us will go on and on.
Spot on Joey. Prince throwing an intercept pass against souths which pretty much cost them the game, but we didnt see Carty blowing. Make every coach read your article. Give the refs a break!
Well said "Frog" lets see if anyone can top that comment. I very much doubt it!!!!!!!!
I can cope when a referee makes a mistake in general play, it all happens so fast and he may not necessarily get a good look at it, that's life. What I can't cope with is when a video referee, who can slow it down, view it from several different angles, look at it as many times as he likes still manages to get it so wrong. It cost both the Tigers and Broncos crucial wins on Friday night and potentially a place in the semis.
Well said Joey the refs arent the problem: the players are
switched TV off, refs decision is absolutely ridiculous, switch to AFL. Dogies you will be smashed by Manly Sea Eagles.
Well I dont think that I suggested a player should question the referee I did say that I thought the Captain could question the referee. Afterall they are playing what is now a multi million dollar business its no longer a weekend sport that we are discussing is it? As a supporter of my club I would expect the captain to question what is a blatant mistake. If that is too hard for the referees to cope with then maybe we the viewers should be shortchanged and have no re plays shown to let them continue on and letting teams have 2 points that are proven to be not deserved.........
Beejay of Central Coast. Player has the right to ask? In any game that I've played in, and from what I've been taught, you must respect a referees decision and get on with the freaking game. Is that concept too hard to understand for guys like Anasta, Ennis and Farah? That's what's ridiculous. And you're right, the referees shouldn't be talking to the players like 5 year olds and managing the game for them. If they're offside, *** a penalty. Simple things really. Also, fix the scrum while they're at it.
Always have a good laugh when people bag the umpires be it NRL AFL. I think we have too much technology these days. Let the umpires get on with the job they have to do rather than have people second guess them. If dont like decision so sad too bad. Would love to see some of the experts who made comments on this subject pickup the whistle and get out there and do a better job rather than moan about poor umpire decisions
Lost me as a supporter of the game dont know what is a shepard anymore after doggies tigers game ref got that wrong 100%...
Are refs still doing a good job Joey? Tonights game was an absolute joke.
I'm pretty happy with the video refs performance tonight, he was our best player and pushed the Broncos one step closer to missing the finals! My 9 year old son (along with the rest of Australia) knew that Waqa dropped the ball. All I can say is thank god for that "Benefit of the Doubt" button they have!
The Golden Point fairness issue can easily be solved by awarding both teams 1 competition point at full time .they then play Golden point for the other Competition point. It means that if its a draw at full time both teams come away with at least 1 point,the other point is then up for grabs in golden point.
turned tele off! appalling decission video ref, lost a footy trajic.
i have turned the tele off, video ref, r u kiddin me!!! your there to stop momumentil wronng calls, not to do them!!!!! you have now lost a long time footy trajic, because u dont know a sheppard, wish i could swear!!!
Please note my earlier comments and now see what happened in the Bulldogs Tigers game. Farrah scores and they take it away from him. Bulldogs score after obvious obstruction which was noted by all including commentators (Johns as well)and yet the video ref says no. If you believe the refereeing is honest, then you probably believe wrestling is fair dinkum. Wake up.
Wow, I hope that all the supporters of the "unfairly ostracised" referees have just watched the Bulldogs v Tigers game and see it the way it is. INCONSISTANT. They get No sympathy from me at all...
Well said about the referees. It's a tough job
Gee you cant possibly be looking at the same games I am. I think you're reading too much crap from Johnathon Thurston....And they call us from NSW whingers.....
Isn't it about time the NRL got into line with everyone else and started to issue fines for coaches and players who intimidate officials during press conferences. In almost any other sport, this is a no-no but NRL coaches see themselves as superior to the officials
Joey is kidding himself .. i thought it was the other brother that was the one that told jokes .. seriously between two ref's, two touchies and two video ref's they should be doing a much better job. more than 50% of games finish with fans disapointed due to decissions each week. or a lack of action. Thiaday staning in front of ref'd every game without getting penalized is very frustrating, but one of many examples.
Hear Hear, Joey. Solid Rant. Spot On. The Premier League example is perfect. All for the challenge system as well, although I think it shouldn't lie with the captains, but rather the coaches.
Andrew I would suggest you are definately in the minority. Week in week out we see Referees and Linesman making what appear to be simple errors. Your co-commentators pick up on these incidents every week. For mine Linesman in particular do not appear to be involved enough.
wrong!wrong!wrong! Great is not a word found in many fans vocabulary when it comes to nrl refs. Inconsistency that exists from the 2 refs that handle 1 game, and inconsistency that exists from game to game. Both refs monitor the play the ball, yet the ref controlling the defensive line can have players adjacent to him a metre offside, get involved in the tackle without consequence. Hold down times in tackles, regardless of dominant, surrender, or whatever in the one game. Double markers where one player stands some metres behind the 1st marker, but not back 10 being allowed to get involved in tackle. Second markers who stand adjacent to 1st marker also allowed on many occassions to participate in tackle without penalty. Playing ball square..some tries of recent have been scored off an illegal play the ball in the previous ruck. Flop starting to creep back in. Get back to 1 ref asap. Then if he referees both sides equally, then consistency surely must come back into the game.


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