Bulls have suffered as much as anyone over questionable calls by officials

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It would be refreshing and enlightening to hear the reasons behind rulings made by referees It would be refreshing and enlightening to hear the reasons behind rulings made by referees

It’s frequently labelled the coach’s crutch or the last vestige of the one-eyed obsessive but the bagging of referees is as much a part of our game as booming hits or the play-the-ball. And why not?

Sunday afternoons just wouldn’t be the same without the constant chorus of ‘forward’, bringing together fans both young and old in one of the few judgements they can all agree on.

But more recently, a stigma has developed around the criticism of officials and until we manage to shed it, progress will continue to be slow in coming.

Of course, a line has to be drawn between vitriolic bile and constructive comment but the latter is absolutely essential to the health of rugby league.

Back in the days of amateur officials, it was more difficult to justify the public barbs but at a time when many of our men in the middle are fully paid-up employees of the RFL, value for money is a valid concern.

Especially so when the relatively limited resources available mean the pool of officials in Super League is much smaller than that in the likes of Premier League soccer, immediately putting us at a disadvantage.

Whereas the spectre of promotion and relegation within the ranks keeps Premier League whistleblowers on their toes, knowing poor performances could result in a slide down the ranks, there is little scope for a similar system in rugby league.

That said, a smaller pool should also bring benefits. With fewer officials to regulate, in theory it should be much easier to implement a firm and consistent set of rules and guidelines throughout the game.

Yet inconsistency has been a common theme throughout the season. Even though we have been forced to endure endless discussion on spoiling tactics at the ruck, the lack of a firm hand in dealing with the issue has resulted in similarly endless interpretations of the rules.

Some referees clamp down heavily on delaying tactics, some adapt a more laissez-faire approach and some flit between the both and it’s doing nothing for the quality of football.

Too often, the referee’s own personality dictates the flow and nature of a game – each has their own inimitable style – and that appears to be the result of a serious lack of guidance from above.

There needs to be stricter guidelines for and measures of an official’s performance – and why not make them more accountable while we’re at it. If coaches and players are required to answer to the press after games, then why not the men in black (or a fetching shade of green, as the case may be).

It would be both refreshing and enlightening to hear the reasons behind certain decisions, right or wrong, and may actually help to build a few bridges in the process.

But going even further, the time could now be right in following the NRL’s lead and adopting an extra official, particularly to help police the ruck area.

The scheme has not been without its problems Down Under, primarily surrounding who has the final say in terms of decision-making, but it is at least a positive step towards remedying perceived ills in the game – and one the Australians have committed to beyond this season.

By speeding up play-the-balls, the quality of play has notably improved, yet the extra man means officials are actually finding it easier to keep up with the game.

It would provide a much-needed sign that we are not prepared to let our game become bogged down in a mangle of grappling limbs and would provide a welcome extra pair of eyes in spotting indiscretions – especially when still only a handful of games are allowed the benefit of a video referee.

Too many questionable calls are being allowed to slide and the Bulls have suffered as much as anyone else, with Craig Kopczak’s disallowed try during last week’s defeat to Hull FC the perfect example of a game-changing incident.

By showing a willingness to change and adapt, the RFL would be making a good start.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:44pm Wed 7 Jul 10

Bantam58 says...

Try being in the championship, with bad decisions AND a 9 point deduction, if only problems were bad calls...........Blis
s.
Try being in the championship, with bad decisions AND a 9 point deduction, if only problems were bad calls...........Blis s. Bantam58

5:13pm Wed 7 Jul 10

Far Away says...

WOW - Someone has been reading my postings!! So come on, guys, what can we do? Organise some form of pressure group with spokesmen and leaders would be a start along with a document signed by lots of fans to be presented to the Referees Association nominated representative. This document will require action and response from the referees. That response will dictate any subsequent action that is needed. What does everyone think?
WOW - Someone has been reading my postings!! So come on, guys, what can we do? Organise some form of pressure group with spokesmen and leaders would be a start along with a document signed by lots of fans to be presented to the Referees Association nominated representative. This document will require action and response from the referees. That response will dictate any subsequent action that is needed. What does everyone think? Far Away

5:24pm Wed 7 Jul 10

Gumshoe says...

The referees will never change when they are controlled by a man in total denial in Cummings. He has always backed his officials even when their errors have been so blatantly seen by everyone at a game.

The problem IMO is consistency. The one rule for one one for another system applies especially in super league, a certain few clubs get all the calls and decisions in their favour. Incidents and plays in games which should go punished for both teams only applies to select teams who get away with 'murder' on the field of play.

I agree with most that referees should have to explain there weekly errors which cost teams points and wins in cups (Mr Silverwood) and they should be punished like players for their dreadful calls.

At end of day there are no good referees in SL at the present time at least not if you are a bulls supporter (not excuse for last 4 years though).
The referees will never change when they are controlled by a man in total denial in Cummings. He has always backed his officials even when their errors have been so blatantly seen by everyone at a game. The problem IMO is consistency. The one rule for one one for another system applies especially in super league, a certain few clubs get all the calls and decisions in their favour. Incidents and plays in games which should go punished for both teams only applies to select teams who get away with 'murder' on the field of play. I agree with most that referees should have to explain there weekly errors which cost teams points and wins in cups (Mr Silverwood) and they should be punished like players for their dreadful calls. At end of day there are no good referees in SL at the present time at least not if you are a bulls supporter (not excuse for last 4 years though). Gumshoe

5:36pm Wed 7 Jul 10

cj says...

it isn't just the refs though is it, they get very little help from the flag wavers. they want respect but don't earn it. it just gets the fans and no doubt the players extremely frustrated. if i made as many mistakes in my job as they do then i would be on a warning then finished, they seem to be beyond reproach.
it isn't just the refs though is it, they get very little help from the flag wavers. they want respect but don't earn it. it just gets the fans and no doubt the players extremely frustrated. if i made as many mistakes in my job as they do then i would be on a warning then finished, they seem to be beyond reproach. cj

8:54pm Wed 7 Jul 10

graham smith says...

I don’t know about how you all see it but at the start of this season I thought the refereeing was better than last seasons.
Remember the Hull game at the KC at the end of the season, one try double movement, second try player tackled but got up and ran in a try.
However the last 6 games it’s been a shambles some of the decisions have been just ridicules
It’s my opinion the only way this will stop is for Cummings to step down for a more forward thinking person.
Their first job would be to stop all the bogus calls and start to get the respect of the referees back and get rid of the need for the clubs having to watch and study how different referees play the rules.
COM’ON YOU BULLS.
I don’t know about how you all see it but at the start of this season I thought the refereeing was better than last seasons. Remember the Hull game at the KC at the end of the season, one try double movement, second try player tackled but got up and ran in a try. However the last 6 games it’s been a shambles some of the decisions have been just ridicules It’s my opinion the only way this will stop is for Cummings to step down for a more forward thinking person. Their first job would be to stop all the bogus calls and start to get the respect of the referees back and get rid of the need for the clubs having to watch and study how different referees play the rules. COM’ON YOU BULLS. graham smith

11:39pm Wed 7 Jul 10

haitch says...

Got to agree with the above comments. Cummins will always be tainted with the Graeme Bradley issue and as a result has issues with the Bulls. He should never have got the RFL chief of refs job in the first place as what he did in retaliation for some comments Bradley made in a newspaper column was a disgrace which should never have been overlooked. For those who don't know. Bradley had made comments about Cummings which the ref took exception to. Instead of dealing with the comments in the correct way he waited until the play off semi final against Saints as he had been awarded the match to officiate. Bradleys first boisterous tackle was adjudged a red card offence and he sent him off. TV replays showed no such offence had been committed although it could be argued a bit of a 'facial' of the type almost never punished at all, let alone a red card, had taken place. It was revenge of the highest order and the RFL turned a blind eye.
So, that is why every time the Bulls are punished severely by the beaks at Red Hall a cloud will hang over the judgement. The guy has to go before any talk of fairness can begin to take place.
By the way, I hope no one even begins to suggest refereeing decisions have anything to do with the Bulls plight over the last 3 seasons as that is a completely different story!!
Got to agree with the above comments. Cummins will always be tainted with the Graeme Bradley issue and as a result has issues with the Bulls. He should never have got the RFL chief of refs job in the first place as what he did in retaliation for some comments Bradley made in a newspaper column was a disgrace which should never have been overlooked. For those who don't know. Bradley had made comments about Cummings which the ref took exception to. Instead of dealing with the comments in the correct way he waited until the play off semi final against Saints as he had been awarded the match to officiate. Bradleys first boisterous tackle was adjudged a red card offence and he sent him off. TV replays showed no such offence had been committed although it could be argued a bit of a 'facial' of the type almost never punished at all, let alone a red card, had taken place. It was revenge of the highest order and the RFL turned a blind eye. So, that is why every time the Bulls are punished severely by the beaks at Red Hall a cloud will hang over the judgement. The guy has to go before any talk of fairness can begin to take place. By the way, I hope no one even begins to suggest refereeing decisions have anything to do with the Bulls plight over the last 3 seasons as that is a completely different story!! haitch

2:18am Thu 8 Jul 10

Tricky Dicky says...

The question must be how do the RFL attract the quality that is needed in the quantity required to enforce competition for what should be an highly esteemed job. Added to that, the merry flag-wavers must be more than that - assistant referees and all of them must undertake regular assessment. Too many mistakes - down to the bottom of the list.
The question must be how do the RFL attract the quality that is needed in the quantity required to enforce competition for what should be an highly esteemed job. Added to that, the merry flag-wavers must be more than that - assistant referees and all of them must undertake regular assessment. Too many mistakes - down to the bottom of the list. Tricky Dicky

12:24pm Thu 8 Jul 10

blue marlin says...

one of the problems is that refs sometimes in order to keep the game flowing turn a blind eye eg some time ago a ref penalised some team 26 times in match and was moaned about fron pillar to post but when you looked at the match i think he was right in each case, also mr child sent off coley for a late tackle but ryan bailey gets away with late tackles is it down to who they play for or how diffrent refs view the inccedents. We all could go on for eve about things like that its what makes the game great.
one of the problems is that refs sometimes in order to keep the game flowing turn a blind eye eg some time ago a ref penalised some team 26 times in match and was moaned about fron pillar to post but when you looked at the match i think he was right in each case, also mr child sent off coley for a late tackle but ryan bailey gets away with late tackles is it down to who they play for or how diffrent refs view the inccedents. We all could go on for eve about things like that its what makes the game great. blue marlin

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree