Coaches back video referral system
Following a contentious no-try ruling that counted against Penrith in their 20-12 loss to the Roosters on Monday night, both coaches backed the current referral system – although they differed on whether the correct decision was made on the night.
Halfway through the first stanza, with the Roosters up 6-0, Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak looked to dive over in the corner under considerable attention from Roosters fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. On slow-motion replay, it was unclear whether there was any separation between the winger's fingers and the ball.
On-field referees Gerard Sutton and Matt Cecchin sent the referral upstairs as a no-try, with video referees Shayne Hayne and Luke Patten electing to stay with the on-field decision.
While Roosters coach Trent Robinson unsurprisingly expressed doubt over the grounding and Panthers counterpart Ivan Cleary thought there was evidence to overturn the decision, both said they are happy with the current process whereby a referee makes an initial decision on-field before sending the call upstairs.
"I thought it was as close. As soon as they awarded no-try – I don't think it was definitive, and I heard them ask for the real time (replay) – it looked like it bounced live and it was sort of 50-50 as I was looking at it, I wasn't sure if he got it down or whether he lost it," Robinson said.
"I think we kept looking for one or the other and then that's when we went back to what the refs said."
Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce also said he thought the ball had left the winger's hand during the grounding.
Cleary said he thought it was a try, and Penrith skipper Peter Wallace said the fact the initial decision had been sent up as a no-try "probably decided it".
Despite conjecture over the decision, both coaches said they are content with the current system, rather than the previous system that required the on-field officials not to influence the call, with tries often being awarded under the "benefit of the doubt" interpretation.
"I'd much prefer this system, I think it's a really strong system," Robinson said.
"It just gives them confidence, they've got to make a call and they're not hesitating. What would have happened if that went upstairs? They would have been in the same boat as what they were on the field. I think the system's really good actually, I think it gives confidence back to the refs and they back their live vision."
Cleary also said he has "never really been a fan of the video" but prefers the current system to the previous one.
"I like the system – well if you've got to have a video I like the system – I've never really been a fan of the video myself, because you don't necessarily seem to get it right all of the time. But I've got nothing wrong with the system, I think it's decent. I like the fact that referees make calls," he said.