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All we want is to get the reffing decisions right

LNP Mander may have flunked his bid to lead the Queensland LNP, but there could be a job for him back in the NRL if Saturday night's Charity Shield experiment is deemed a success.

Mander, the former top-flight NRL referee whose signature 'yippee' started each match he controlled, was one of the few LNP members left standing after the recent election. But despite his popularity among his constituents, he did not have the party-room numbers to take the top job.

That might not be the case if NRL referees boss Tony Archer decides that 10 match officials - as was the case in the Charity Shield - are needed to control each NRL match in season 2015. Mander and the likes of Bill Harrigan, Eddie Ward and even the controversial Greg Hartley might be recalled to boost current numbers.

Of course, I'm being facetious. If 10 officials per game are required, the numbers will be found. After all, sideline officials and in-goal judges don't have to be Rhodes Scholars - just have a feel for the game and 20/20 vision.

Archer has been vilified by some for testing this new system during pre-season trials. Members of the Fox commentary team during the Charity Shield were - excuse the pun - quite uncharitable and sarcastic.

But the bottom line is that Archer is trying to rid the game of its greatest impediment - too many referrals to the video referee. The system was introduced to streamline decisions and guarantee their accuracy, but to most fans it has failed dismally on both counts.

Ten officials won't be 100% accurate either, as was proven on Saturday night. I'm still unsure whether Dragons hooker Mitch Rein scored in the opening stages when referee Adam Devcich ruled a try before going to the video boss, who overturned his decision.

That, according to some pundits, says the experiment was a failure. But, in fairness, there was no conclusive evidence either way. And I doubt the video referee, from what he saw, was 100% certain it wasn't a try either.

That was the only controversial incident on the night. Two other calls, one made by a touch judge and the other by an in-goal judge, were spot on. In fact the 'no try' decision by the touch judge early in the second half, when all and sundry believed Jason Nightingale scored, was brilliant.

Ten match officials might seem a clutter, and the value of two additional touch judges is questionable. But the in-goal judges should stay.

What we all want - the players, the coaches, the fans and the officials - is to get the crucial decisions correct.

And if we can get that without monotonous and lengthy video referrals, then let's do it.

Topics:  bill harrigan nrl opinion referees tim mander tony durkin


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