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Still singing the Blues: Anderson

Daniel Anderson NRL.com Fri, May 25, 2012 - 10:30 AM

NSW are closing the gap, writes Daniel Anderson. Copyright: NRL Photos

Maybe it’s that I’m getting old and grumpy, but given Queensland have dominated the last six years of State of Origin fixtures I have been hoping for a New South Wales resurgence to breathe some life into the series from a Blues perspective.

State of Origin 2012 game one left me with the same frustrations that have not been stirred up since the late Barry “Grasshopper” Gomersall was a State of Origin referee. The Grasshopper refereed nine times at Origin level with Queensland winning seven of them.

Cheekily, well after he retired, when asked about the 7-2 matches’ scoreline in Queensland’s favour, he replied “Well, surely anyone's entitled to two bad games”. As a parochial New South Welshman, I am entitled to embrace that we lost the game because of the referee whether it is true or not.

Game one will be remembered for the same undue influence the referees were perceived to have on the result. I cannot categorically state that NSW would have won the game but I also cannot state they would have lost either.

State of Origin has always been refereed to a different standard of rules than NRL club fixtures. The spin that it is all the same is just not true. From the tackle process, all manner of push and shove, fisticuffs to match review, Origin has less penalties and more leniency in its interpretation.

Michael Jennings did run a distance and throw a punch which connected. He deserved to be put in the Sin Bin but many other players in many other Origins have run a distance and escalated incidents without repercussion.

Greg Bird completed a very aggressive, legal tackle which was incorrectly penalised, advancing the field position and tackle count of QLD from which they scored 6 points (albeit NSW made incorrect defensive decisions and Johnathan Thurston converted from the third row of the stands).

For me, if there is one area of officiating that really grates me, it is the video ref. I enjoy and expect that we use the technology available to make a better informed decision on try scoring plays and areas of foul play (Ask Andy Carroll at Liverpool if he would appreciate some goal line technology in the World Game). But I do not understand why some video ref officials need to extract or fashion an interpretation from what appear to be different threads of rules in our game.

Greg Inglis lost the ball over the line. 99 percent of viewers saw this happen. Whether Robbie Farah “initiated contacted with the ball in the act of scoring a try” does not seem relevant even if correct. I saw GI drop the ball over the line = NO TRY.

If this incident occurred at the 50m line, do we seriously think the referee would restart the tackle count?

I watched Daniel Mortimer denied a try against Manly. Does the video ref feel the pressure to deliver the one percent interpretation? Are they conscious that their decisions may be setting precedents? It’s not a court of law, it’s a sport. Can’t we go with the 99 percent interpretation?

NSW were great in game one and scared the life out of the Queenslanders.

I don’t mind that frustrations are being stirred up. I guess it means NSW are starting to close the gap.

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