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Official View: Playing at the ball

Stuart Raper NRL.com Mon, Apr 25, 2011 - 11:00 AM

Unlucky: Josh McCrone Copyright: Getty Images

Referees Co-Coach Stuart Raper answers your most frequently asked questions from round seven.

What did you make of the knock-on decisions around Bulldogs Andrew Ryan and Raiders Josh McCrone?  Could they not have been sent to the video referee?

The decision against Raider Josh McCrone was a wrong call, but it was only picked up as a wrong call with a super-slow motion replay. Live it looked like a knock-on and the referee made his decision based on that.�

We applaud referees for being decisive.�

In reality it was very doubtful that McCrone would have scored, as Raiders Coach Dave Furner indicated in the press conference, Jarrod Mullen had him covered and only stopped when he heard the whistle. So to suggest the use of the video referee is premature.

It was very similar to the Bulldogs game when Andrew Ryan plays at the arm but gets the ball and knocks-on before Ben Barba picks it up and races away.

They are both similar incidents, the commentators were saying that the referees had got it wrong, but when the replay was shown, Ryan clearly touches the ball and the correct call was made.

The interpretation of the rule is that; if a player is tackling with a wrapping motion with his hands and he touches the ball, he is playing at the ball.�

This is the interpretation because a lot of the time players will hedge their bets, they go in for the tackle but if there is an overlap created on the outside they will also try to knock the ball down and diffuse the situation.

The interpretation is there because it is the best way to rule on these knock-ons and gives us much more consistency.

In this instance we got one right and one wrong, both in similar circumstances. It is unfortunate for the Raiders and McCrone but to suggest this was the turning point is wrong.  Only four minutes earlier Alan Tongue dropped the ball when he looked a certainty to score under the posts.

We will encourage referees to continue to make calls, if they see something and are confident in what they have seen, they’ll make an immediate decision.

We think the referees have been doing a great job and a large majority of the time, they have been making the right calls in those split-second decisions.

If McCrone or Barba get tackled before the line, the window of opportunity to make a decision is gone. We don’t want every decision being sent upstairs, if the referee thinks it’s a knock-on, he’ll call it.

Were you happy with the try awarded to Alex Glenn in the Friday night game between the Wests Tigers and Broncos?

I talked to Brett Suttor and he said the reason he sent the decision upstairs was because he thought the ball had brushed the try-line, but wanted to make sure. He was pretty sure the ball had touched the line, but he just wanted to double check.

The video replays were inconclusive, so it went back to a ref’s call and he called it a try based on his original instincts.

Was Luke Burt off-side for the Eels' match-winning try?

Luke Burt is onside.