The NRL has been subject to a lot of criticism in the opening month of the season with controversial match officiating that main talking point.
From the newly-introduced crackdown on play the balls, many spectators are concerned about the direction our game is headed.
Penalty after penalty, shifting the focus of the game onto an alternative pathway, and even upsetting rugby league royalty.
Though the fingers aren’t pointed towards the referees, rather the top of the officiating hierarchy, the referee’s boss.
The core explanation for the flowing run of penalties is that if the referee’s don’t blow after a visible incident, officials will often point out their errors post-match and it’s ruining our game.
But then again discipline plays a factor. Players need to abide, and silly off-side calls, alongside wrongful play-the-balls, can be avoided.
Consistency is the word often thrown into the frame when discussing decisions made. The referees have appeared to be consistently inconsistent. It’s frustrating, there is so much more to rugby league than final headlines stating a ‘controversial’ finish.
I often find myself assess the issue with sympathy towards the individuals involved, but at this stage of the season, and the amount of troubling signs, change is inevitable.
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Good Friday pumped to work on dogs v Souths game. The game destroyed by penalties. Left the game so so disappointed. Rushed home to watch storm v sharks purely as a fan. Shattered watching the game. Don’t blame the referees I feel for them. Pressure from above. Whoever it is at the top of NRL hang your head. The game belongs not to you or the players. It belongs to the fans who pay to watch.
‘Disappointed’ is what Rugby League immortal Andrew Johns would describe himself after the controversial Good Friday blockbuster.
Johns isn’t the only one expressing concern, Channel Nine commentator Paul Vautin also had his say on the hot topic.
“What’s going on with our game? They’re bewildered, the whole rugby league world is bewildered as to what’s going on with the great game of rugby league,” Vautin said.
“I can understand penalties for infringements but they’re really nitpicking and going hard at everything and it’s just wrong.
“I feel very privileged to have the job that I have which is to commentate on rugby league and come and watch rugby league, tonight what I saw was so disappointing by giving, I think it was 32 penalties, and no one enjoyed it.
“No one enjoyed watching that game.
“I don’t know what’s going on.”
Honestly the continual blowing of the whistle for penalties is pain staking! Rugby league is about attrition, let us see some. #putyourwhistlesaway
— Mark Geyer (@markMGgeyer) March 30, 2018
— Trent Copeland (@copes9) March 30, 2018
To advance the quality of our game comes the need to revamp the officiating industry, to regain the respect of fans, and even rugby league greats.