You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Referees co-coach Bill Harrigan answers your most frequently asked questions from Round 6 of the NRL season.

Question: Were you happy with how the incidents from Friday night’s game between the Eels and Bulldogs were handled?

I am happy with how the incidents were handled, but it could have been handled slightly differently. On the field, the referees’ terminology was slightly off. The players were not sin-binned for their separate infringements; they were sin-binned for fighting.

In this instance, the video referee has communicated that both players should be put on report after their respective incidents, and then put in the sin bin for fighting.  

Question: How was the original high shot from Payne missed?

Both referees were on the opposite side of Corey Payne’s right arm when he makes contact with Jarryd Hayne’s head and both had obstructed views. The touch judge, who should have seen the incident, missed it because a player is clearly in between him and the two players at the crucial point of contact. That is why it was missed initially.

Question: Should Jarryd Hayne have been sent off considering Paul Aiton was sent for something similar earlier this year?

In my opinion Jarryd Hayne should have been sent off. You either put the player on report for a suspected head-butt, or if you identify the infringement as a head-butt, you send the player off.  

A head-butt is a send-off offence; it’s as simple as that.

I think Corey Payne’s is not a send-off offence, but is definitely a penalty and should be put on report. He was correctly sin-binned for fighting.

Ideally if the referees had indentified Hayne’s actions as a head-butt, he should have been sent off. Payne would then be sin-binned for fighting and placed on report for his high tackle.  

Question: Why were Michael Ennis and Nathan Hindmarsh both sent to the bin?  Was that the correct call?

I believe the referees did the right thing by sending both Hindmarsh and Ennis to the bin. Hindmarsh turns around and comes at Ennis. Prior to that, Ennis shoulder charges Hindmarsh. In the next ruck Ennis comes at him and pulls him away, which we regard as a second tackle which could have been penalised. Ennis then baits Hindmarsh again, which led to a scuffle and all the other players racing in.  

Due to what had happened with the head-butt and high tackle only moments beforehand, it was strong refereeing to send them both to the bin and send a message to all the players that the referees would not be having any of this in the game.

In isolation, you wouldn’t send either of them to the bin, but in the context of the match, it defused the situation by cutting out all the niggle. It must be noted that it had the desired effect because there was no more drama in the game after that point.

Question: Should the weekend's benefit-of-the-doubt tries to Chris Heighington and Johnathan Thurston have been awarded? Was there a hint of a knock-on in both cases?

There is no evidence to say that either player touched the ball before grounding it. We have said that we need to be 100% certain to take a try off a player. In both cases there is no evidence that proves that there has been a knock-on.

Question: Should Steve Southern have been penalised for a late hit on Nathan Gardener in the Knights v Sharks game?

Steve Southern should not have been penalised because it wasn’t late. Southern is moving across to defend Gardner. Gardner runs at the line before kicking over the top, Southern doesn’t have to get out of the way and he actually doesn’t move into him any further after the kick.  

Southern is in the air sliding as the kick has left the boot; he then plants his legs and embraces for the impact. He is entitled to do that. If he had taken another step it would have been a penalty. But he cannot disappear in this incidence and the onus is on Gardner to run around him.  

Question: There is a call to make incorrect play-the -balls a differential penalty – is there any merit in this?

I can see the merit of a differential penalty for this occurrence, because you are inflicting something against yourself. We wouldn’t change the rule midseason, but it could be something we look at at the end of the year if need be.