Each week Referees co-coaches Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper analyse all the decisions from the weekend’s matches and then answer your most frequently asked questions. This week Raper looks at the video referee, time-off, microchips, and stripping in the tackle.
Were you happy with the amount of time the final minute took to play in the Wests Tigers' clash with the Dragons?
In the last minute of that game, the referee called time-out due to a scuffle that started when a scrum was being packed. There were two balls on the field and a little bit of pushing and shoving going on. The referee did this so that no time was wasted on the clock and also so that everything settled down.
The situation at this stage of the game is that one team is rushing, while the other team is trying to slow it down. But the scuffle stops the chance for the game to restart, so time gets stopped while it is all sorted out. Obviously there was a lot of tension in the dying minutes, so it also gave the teams a chance to calm down and just concentrate on playing footy. The referee will always blow time off when there is something like a scuffle stopping the resumption of play.
Are you happy with the amount of tries that get decided by the video referee?
We had a lot of complaints last year that too much time was being wasted on video referee decisions, and we feel our referees have done well in this aspect. This year we have had 92 less decisions sent upstairs to this time last year. We are happy that our referees are making decisions.
We are very conscious of the need to get the decision right and we will continue to send decisions to the video referee when there is doubt, but if the referee is in a good position and is confident in that decision, they will make the call. I think there has only been one decision this year that, if it had been sent upstairs, would have been reversed. So we are pleased that our referees are making decisions.
Did the referee make the right call in the Manly v Roosters game when Kieran Foran stripped the ball from Jason Ryles, leading directly to a try?
The referee got this right because Jason Ryles had bumped off the first man and broken the tackle. When he came to Kieran Foran it was a different phase, and the ball was stripped one-on-one. Foran had every right to play at the ball.
What do you think of the possibility that one day a ball could be micro-chipped for forward passes?
If there is something out there that can help the referees make decisions, we are happy to look at it. We need to look at it to make sure it doesn’t affect the continuity of the game. We also need to consider the accuracy aspect of it.
Accuracy is the big thing; we need to be confident that it is accurate. I have my doubts, but am happy to look at it in testing. Until we have extensive tests under different situations and conditions, it is just speculation at the moment. We haven’t seen it yet, no one has presented it yet, so it is very speculative.