You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

The NRL admits it needs to train up more bunker referees so there is scope to rotate reviewers more if mistakes are made.

Head of Football Graham Annesley backed the bunker personnel to make the right decision far more often than a wrong one.

But at his weekly briefing on Monday at NRL Headquarters, Annesley showed two player interference decisions – Jack Hetherington (Warriors) and Jamal Fogarty (Titans); Bailey Simonsson (Raiders) and Josh Addo-Carr (Storm) – where he felt the bunker made judgment calls.

For the first, he said it was a "50-50 call" on whether Hetherington impeded Fogarty.

For the second, he said Simonsson should never had been sin-binned or the Raiders penalised.

"The Bunker generally do a very good job on the decisions sent to them," Annesley said.

"But when we come to these kinds of judgment calls I think they're putting too much focus on individual aspects rather than looking at the incident (a) in real time and (b) as most fans would look at them.

"So I think they're looking for too much in these incidents."

Simonsson sent to the sin bin

However, unlike players or on-field officials who can be dropped for making an error, Annesley admitted the NRL did not have that luxury at present. There are not enough people trained up to perform the detailed work needed.

"To be brutally honest with you no we don't at the moment," Annesley said, when asked if bunker reviewers should be stood down for a week if they make a mistake.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart had said it was no good complaining about video decisions because the same people would be back next week. And he's right.

At present there are only three qualified: Jared Maxwell, Steve Chiddy and Steven Clark, who are all retired from on-field officiating.

"One of the reasons for that is that it's a very specialised role … they're dealing with camera angles, technicians, referees on the field," Annesley said.

"They are effectively managing their own little television production to make sure they get quick access to the best angles; they are operating under pressure because everyone is waiting for the decision.

"There are very few people trained for this role. In the past few years we had the luxury of having some of our main first grade referees being also [able] to double in the bunker," Annesley said, saying Ashleigh Klein had done it previously but was now in a referees bubble similar to players.

"Because of COVID-19 and bubbles, this year we can't do that," he said.

"There is no point taking people out of that role to put someone else in who has less capability to do the job, because we'll get more errors.

"Yes, we do need to train more people and there are a few guys who are close to the end of their careers as referees. So they'll be ideal to come into the bunker when their on-field career is finished.

"But we just don't have the luxury of numbers at the moment."

Match Highlights: Titans v Warriors

Regarding the debate of whether scrums were still a viable set piece of play, Annesley said that was "an ongoing discussion".

He said scrums would remain for season 2020 but at the end, they would be reviewed.

"Scrums these days are no more than a restart to play … and with some of the changes we've made this year we have seen some good tries scored off scrums," Annesley said.

"Are they a good contest? They're not a contest any longer. Do they look untidy? At times they can.

"So they'll be reviewed and if it's determined – whether this year or some point in the future – that they've outlived their usefulness the Commission has shown they're prepared to make changes that are in the best interests of the game."