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Official View: Refs backing themselves in 2011

Bill Harrigan NRL.com Mon, May 23, 2011 - 3:20 PM

Bill Harrigan: The NRL's referees are backing themselves more in 2011, with referrals to the video referee down significantly on 2010. Copyright: Getty Images

Referees co-coach Bill Harrigan answers your most frequently asked questions from the NRL season.

You have said you want your referees making decisions on the spot when possible, rather than referring them to the video referee. Are they doing that?

We have seen a massive improvement in this area in 2011.

This year there have been 521 tries scored and of those, 182 have been referred to the video referee.  The amount of tries being sent upstairs equates to 35%, which is actually 14% less than last year. In 2010, tries were sent to the video referee 49% of the time.

So we have already seen that the referees on the field are more inclined to make decisions this year and fewer tries are being referred to the video referee, which I’m very happy with.

There have been seven video refereeing errors that we have identified, which mean the decisions made by the video referee have been correct 96.1% of the time.

What is the rule interpretation when players attempt to burrow over the try-line from dummy-half?

The player at dummy-half should not touch the man playing the ball; if he touches him and the action impedes any of the defenders it will always be ruled no-try.

The only way a try would be given is if there are no defenders anywhere near the attacker and no-one is obstructed in the diving maneuver.  

Put simply, you cannot use the player in front of you as a shield; the defenders shouldn’t have to deal with a player in their way obstructing a tackle.

There were three of these style try-attempts over the weekend, they all went to the video referee and they were all correctly denied. It is good to see consistency across the games and decisions.

Kevin Locke bored through his teammate playing the ball and you can’t do that, it is deemed to be an obstruction. The defenders were obstructed from making a tackle.

The correct ruling in that case should have been no-try and a penalty to the attacking team because the defending team and the markers had not got back onside.  
 
The initial infringement is the offside player, this happened before the attacking player used the obstruction to his advantage. Someone might ask why can’t you just play the advantage? You cannot play advantage when there is an obstruction; all you can do is penalise the first infringement.�

The rule in action: Bulldogs hooker Josh Reynolds is denied a try in Round 11

Why was Chris Sandow allowed to strip the ball when the Warriors player was attempting to score?

In the act of scoring a try, the defensive team is allowed to play at the ball to try to stop a try being scored. This is what Sandow has done and it is a legitimate play on his behalf.