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Inside this week's Big League magazine...
It’s easy to have a referee you most despise, but do many people other than myself have a favourite ref? We’re not necessarily talking ‘best’ here, but the man with the whistle who you believe adds something to the spectacle in a positive way.

A couple of years ago I had a soft spot for Brett Suttor, but that was borne largely of tuning in using Sports Ears to hear his sometimes weird, sometimes funny interactions with players and communique between he and his fellow match officials.

Of course, he got a rap over the knuckles at Newcastle last year when he suggested the Knights weren’t out of it despite trailing 24-0 against the Bulldogs after just 17 minutes. That didn’t show any bias, merely that he was a poor judge of a footy result.

But this year, as the men on the field, on the sideline and encased in a glass box high in the grandstand have copped a pizzling from all corners, I’ve found myself more and more enjoying the refereeing style of Adam Devcich. The thing I like about Adam is that no matter what state the game is in or how far he has had to run to award a try, he never seems out of breath or not in complete control of the situation.

He appears to talk firmly but fairly with the players, never gives the impression he is getting carried away in the moment and, more often than not, seems to make the correct calls.

When Penrith appeared to have scored the ugliest four-pointer of the season that came from two Cameron Ciraldo ‘kicks’ and a Clint Newton dive for the ball, Devcich sent it upstairs having given it the preliminary green light. It was examined from nine different angles and three levels of slow motion before the video refs decided they couldn’t find any reason not to stick with the original decision.
And I was happy with that.

It never ceases to amaze me how often players unsuccessfully challenge line calls in professional tennis; perhaps we’d find a similar success rate in rugby league if we simply let the refs call it as they see it.

 This is big. In a year when there hasn’t been all that much to cheer about with regards to Aussie sport on the world stage, the chance to travel to England to witness the Kangaroos’ quest to regain World Cup glory is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Big League and The Rugby League Experience have teamed up to offer one person the chance to win a trip for them and a mate on an all-inclusive Rugby League World Cup trip worth more than $20,000. That’s flights, 11 nights in London and Manchester, tickets to the double-header semi-finals and World Cup final, attendance at an English Premier League match and tours of some of England’s most iconic sports venues.

There will be seven chances to enter over the next seven weeks and you can do so by mail or through the Big League Facebook page. For full details on how to enter for this extraordinary trip, see page 11, find the special keyword and put your first entry in.

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Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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