After the calamitous refereeing decision that could yet cost The Broncos a place in the finals, all kinds of solutions are being offered.
The latest blunder came when Brisbane backrower Matt Gillett was sinbinned by referee Ben Cummins for an offside call that Phil Gould dubbed “the greatest clanger” he’s ever seen.
Everyone seems to agree on one thing: something needs to be done.
At league headquarters they are talking about three referees or perhaps a video ref “bunker” where a panel would adjudicate on several games from a central position away from the game. The theory is it would remove pressures inherent at the ground and would create greater consistency.
I’m far from convinced that this solves a problem that has not yet been properly defined.
We know there are too many mistakes happening. We know as well that there is huge inconsistency in the decision making process. Common sense, in large measure, has gone out the window.
The reason for that is we now have too many levels of officialdom and each feels the need to earn their keep.
Referees have never been fitter or better coached and have never made more mistakes. Or have they?
In the era before countless slow-motion replays there were plenty of wrong calls but they were accepted as part of the game. And some you didn’t notice.
Perfection, after all, is an elusive commodity.
The irony is that in our attempt to limit those mistakes we have adopted a mindset that focuses too much on referees and their decisions.
We need to limit that focus. I would reduce the number of TV replays and allow only one in slow motion. Sport, like life, happens in real time.
The Broncos blooper crystallised the pressure under which refs are operating and the mistakes they are making.
There was no penalty to be awarded but the refs’ mindset was to find one. And he did — and not one of his colleagues corrected him. Fear rules.
In the meantime, leading coaches who spend hours teaching their players how to stretch rules to the max (to be kind) continue to scream when refs get it wrong.
A bit rich.