Harrigan doubts future of NRL benefit rule
20:59 AEST Thu Oct 11 2012

Referees boss Bill Harrigan has queried whether the benefit-of-the-doubt rule has a future after a number of controversial decisions marred the end of the NRL season.

The game's whistleblowers and video referees attracted unwanted attention with a number of baffling decisions that prompted plenty of debate and Harrigan says laws need to be scrutinised with fans struggling to understand referees' rulings.

Speaking on Sydney radio on Thursday night, Harrigan said he'd like to see the benefit-of-the-doubt rule reviewed for 2013.

"We've had in place now for probably six, seven, eight years, maybe longer, a policy with the benefit of the doubt that you have to have 100% conclusive evidence there to take a try off him," Harrigan told Triple M's Rush Hour.

"And we can see this year that we just didn't fit in with the general punter out there who's watching the game."

One notable dubious call came in a tense semi-final between North Queensland and Manly at Allianz Stadium.

With the game delicately poised in the 63rd minute and the Sea Eagles leading 16-12, Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran jumped to contest the ball with Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston.

Foran appeared to knock the ball forward before winger Michael Oldfield touched down.

After several reviews of the incident, video referees Steve Clark and Paul Simpkins awarded a try, only for referees bosses Harrigan and Stuart Raper to confirm the decision was incorrect 24 hours later.

The pair were subsequently stood down for the following weekend's preliminary finals.

"So, I think next year we have to have a good look at that and come back with - with all probability did he touch it?," said Harrigan.

"So, let's talk about the Kieran Foran one which everyone saw - in all probability did he touch it? Yeah he did.

"Take the try off him. So I think that's when we'll get on the same page as everyone else."

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