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Official View: Rules don't change for rep games

Stuart Raper NRL.com Mon, May 09, 2011 - 3:15 PM

"It is not uncommon for these games to have less penalties because the players involved are at the highest level." - Stuart Raper, referees co-coach. Copyright: Getty Images

Referees co-coach Stuart Raper answers your most frequently asked questions from Round 9.

Why was Warriors player Elijah Taylor allowed to play on after appearing to be tackled in the lead-up to his try?

The tackle in this instance was never completed. Warriors forward Elijah Taylor broke the tackle of two Titans players and there was no hand placed on him when he was on the ground. When he stood up he looked at the referee and the referee was yelling ‘play-on, play-on’ and so he did so, which led to a try.

At no stage did the referee call ‘held’, the tackle was never complete and the attacking player had every right to get up and play-on.

The Titans defenders did not respond to the call, while the attacker did. I think it is a good lesson that you need to play to the whistle.

The referee got this 100% right, it just looked odd because the Titans players had assumed they had made the tackle, without listening to the referee who made it very clear by yelling three times ‘play-on.’

Are referees more lenient in representative games and finals football? Do they try to blow fewer penalties in these games, and is this the right thing to do?

There is never a directive to referees to try and blow fewer penalties. We don’t want our referees to change their style; we still want them to officiate as if it were any other game.

An example of this would be in the City-Country game where Michael Jennings was penalised for being a metre offside during a kickoff. The rules and guidelines don’t change and if they are broken it’s the referee’s job to enforce them.

We still need to implement the rules and guidelines and the players have been abiding by these rules throughout the season.

It is not uncommon for these games to have less penalties because the players involved are at the highest level, they are the best of the best, and that usually results in less infringements.

There is also a lot riding on these games and players don’t want to be the one to let the team down, so there is more attention to detail and less sloppy penalties given away.

But the referees will continue to enforce the rules of the game and that won’t change in rep fixtures.