Time to bomb the Bunker
The NRL needs to stop ducking for cover and remove the Bunker.
As a huge fan of League I honestly believe it has the potential to be the greatest game on the planet. It’s fast pace, hard-hitting and action packed style draws in huge crowds from around Australia and unless you’re a fan of the clubs involved in the circus of screw-ups that continually generate season after season its extremely entertaining. But what frustrates fans of the game more than anything else in this great competition is it’s officiating and in more recent times the addition of the video ref aka the Bunker.
The video referee has been apart of Rugby League for some time now and has polarised opinions since its humble beginnings. Brought in to reduce the number of wrong calls from on the spot judgement of the on-field officials and although this has worked to a certain degree, fans didn’t like the constant interference.
Surprisingly the figureheads at NRL HQ actually listened to reason and decided to integrate its video technology in a way that wouldn’t ruin the flow of the game but would correct the absolute on-field howlers. IN COMES THE NRL BUNKER!
Brought in last season, the Bunker was first met with applause. Viewers were shown great footage with nearly every angle possible to determine try. Along with this, onlookers were able to hear the verdict verbally whilst also listening to the referee’s thought process in the determining the decision; unless you go to Leichardt Oval where they don’t have the technology for it.
It was quicker, more efficient and gave greater clarity to fans on the decisions being made, however, it has since gone down hill fast and none more so in the last month.
Where do I begin, do we go with the Brisbane try against South Sydney? The no try for Penrith against Brisbane?, Perhaps when Daly Cherry-Evans was blatantly tackled before the play the ball or do I go even further to the fact they fell for a Paul Gallen dive? A simulation that the NRL has berated European Football for over decades! This new well-oiled machine has become creaky and has started to return to its old ways with slow reviews and still… wrong decisions. To make matters worse NRL referee boss Tony Archer, a man who I consider the start of the NRL’s refereeing capitulation, defends their decisions! And on top of this he is backed by the NRL big guns such as Todd Greenberg. It’s bad enough that fans have to deal with the awful on field decisions that blight the game but to also have to deal with the people upstairs who have time to re-watch it at any angle at any speed and yet still can’t get it right.
NRL is the only sport I know that there are a total of seven officials monitoring the game, A first official, a pocket ref, two linesmen and three other member of the team in the Bunker and still come under scrutiny week in week out.
The NRL has been hiding behind its failure for too long now and its time to rid of it or at least reinvent it… Again!
By Dominic Rizzuto.
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