Referees co-coach Stuart Raper answers your most frequently asked questions from Round 4.
Question: What are your thoughts on the state of scrums?
We saw some great tries off the back of scrums this week, Glen Fisiiahi scored one for the Warriors and Jarrod Croker for the Raiders. That is what is so good about scrums, it gives the exciting backs in the game a chance to go one-on-one with their opposite number.
It allows teams to run set plays, and we saw on the weekend some great one-on-one stuff, highlighting the exciting young backs in the game.
With the players binding correctly in the scrum, there is now more space for the attacking side – and both Fisiiahi and Croker took full advantage.
In regards to the length of time taken to pack scrums, we would prefer if the referees used short prompts rather than coaching the players. If the players don’t respond, we would like the referees to penalise them and we’ll be reiterating this. It is not the referee’s job to coach the players out there, if they don’t bind correctly, they should be penalized.
The scrums in the Tigers v Roosters game were understandably a little slow, but that was because it was a very hot day and the players were taking a while to come together.
Players have to take responsibility for scrums, it’s their job to get to the scrum and get the game going again.
Question: Why was the Sea Eagles first penalty not until the 70th minute?
We have reviewed the tape and are happy with the referees’ performance in the game. There is possibly one penalty the Sea Eagles could have been awarded around the 45th minute, that probably should have been a penalty, but you could argue that there were three penalties that the Rabbitohs could have been awarded as well.
I think the performance of the referees contributed to a great game of league, probably the match of the round. So I don’t think there is much to complain about, it was a great spectacle.
It is important to note that the referee's job is not to even out penalty counts. They are there to ensure the rules of the game are followed and their decisions should not be affected by what the penalty count is at.
Question: What is your view on the incident where Todd Carney and Tony Archer collided?
If a player gets hindered by the referee, a scrum can be awarded to the team with the territorial advantage, in this case it would have been the Roosters, but because they had the advantage and Carney kept on running with a chance to score, the right decision was made.
The collision, while unfortunate, didn’t affect the game. The Roosters scored soon after, it was just one of those things that doesn’t happen very often.
When the referee finds himself in the line, we instruct them to stand their ground and hold their position. Normally the player has time to step around the referee in the knowledge he won’t move one way or the other.
It was just unfortunate in this case that there wasn’t time to avoid the contact.
Question: Should the tries to Luke Burt and Darius Boyd from kicks in round 4 have been awarded?
We looked at the two tries – both were very similar in that they involved contests for the ball with blockers standing close by, and both were correctly awarded as tries.
We look at two things in these cases: has the player got eyes on the ball, and is their timing right when they are contesting the ball. Both Jason Nightingale and Joel Reddy had eyes on the ball and are making an attempt at the ball. They are making a genuine attempt at the ball and the timing of their jumps is a clear indicator of this.
Both attacking players actually collided with the blocker, and this contributed to the collision with the man attempting to catch the ball.
Both were fair contests for the ball and the referees were right to call play-on.