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Official View: Refs got Rabbitohs-Cowboys call right

Stuart Raper NRL.com Mon, Aug 22, 2011 - 3:08 PM

Video referee was right to penalise Cowboy James Segeyaro for a high shot on Rabbitoh Issac Luke in golden point. Copyright: NRL Photos

Each week referees co-coaches Stuart Raper and Bill Harrigan answer your questions from the weekend’s games. This week Raper looks at all the Round 24 decisions, from the golden point penalty in the Rabbits-Cowboys game to the sin-binning of Kieran Foran.

What is your view on the high tackle penalty given against the Cowboys during extra-time in the South Sydney v North Queensland match?

The decision to give the penalty in this game was correct; the tackle from James Segeyaro caught Issac Luke on the head. The process in this instance with a player on the ground is that the video referee will intervene only if the penalty is a reportable offence. The video referee looked at this tackle and thought that it was a reportable offence.

The small mistake the video referee made is that he erred by not communicating or instructing fully to the referee that the tackle should be put on report. He told the referee that it was a penalty based on his view that it was a reportable offence and assumed the referee would put the tackle on report.

It is important to note that the decision-making does not change in extra time; if it is a penalty, the referee will award it.

Watch the Rabbitohs-Cowboys incident on Game Analyser

What is the proccess for going to the video referee for high tackles? Could there have been more penalties awarded due to high shots in the Roosters-Sharks game?

Referees will blow a penalty when a defender makes clear contact with the attacking player’s head. When the video referee looks at these incidents, there must be clear evidence that a defender has made contact with the head and it needs to be a reportable offence for the video referee to intervene. If there is no clear evidence from replays that a defender has collected the attacking player’s head, it is simply play-on.

Clearly when an incident is the subject of a charge we cannot comment until the matter is resolved by the judiciary process. As a general principle a referee or video referee will use the ‘report system’ where they believe there is some doubt at the severity of an incident, where there may be mitigating factors or where they believe the contact was simply not at a level that would require a send-off. Where a referee or video referee believes the contact is clear and is severe they are instructed to dismiss a player.

Was there an obstruction from Jason Ryles on the line when Jared Waerea-Hargreaves scored for the Roosters against the Sharks?

The try should not have been awarded because there was obstruction from Jason Ryles. The referee ruled that Ryles had been running as a support player and hadn’t impeded the defence, but on video evidence and when we looked at it in the review today, you can see that Ryles gets in front of Waerea-Hargreaves and stops the Sharks from the opportunity to make a tackle.

Watch the wrongly-awarded Roosters try

In the Roosters v Sharks match, did Paul Gallen knock-on before a try was awarded to John Williams late in the first half?

We have looked at this and Paul Gallen knocks the ball on. Initially the ball is stripped out of his hands legally by the Roosters as he is in the process of trying to score a try, but when the ball comes free Gallen attempts to re-gather and his hand touches the ball and promotes it forwards before another Sharks player grounds it. It should have been a 20-metre restart to the Roosters. They got that wrong.

Watch the wrongly awarded try to the Sharks

Did the try scored by the Dragons against Melbourne come from a forward pass?

There was a bit of momentum with the pass, which makes it look worse than it really was, but it looks like the pass did actually travel forward. The referee was in a decent position to make the call and decided that it was flat.

Watch the Dragons' try against the Storm

What did you think about the sin-binning of Kieran Foran in the Manly-Bulldogs game?

We were very happy with the sin-binning of Foran in the Manly v Bulldogs game on Sunday afternoon. It has also been suggested that there was a possibility of awarding a penalty try. While David Stagg is tackled without the ball, you have to be decide if in all probablity that he would have scored to award a penalty try. In our review today, some of the video referees said they might have given a penalty try because Stagg was likely to have scored, while the others said you could not be certain that he would have scored. But it was definitely a professional foul and it was a good decision to send Foran to the sin-bin.

How happy were you with the refereeing this weekend?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say there weren’t a couple of areas we need to improve on after last weekend. The football is getting intense on the eve of the finals and every decision is coming under the microscope – and we need to rise to that challenge and be at our best.

Even for teams who can’t make the finals there are some big things to play for. Overall this year we’ve been pretty happy with how the referees have gone but we have had to face up to a few errors of late and we need to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t continue.