Peter V'Landys' decision to drop to one referee will send the game back to where it was more than a decade ago. Where the wrestle was worse and teams got away with murder in the ruck.

The dual referee system has been in effect for over a decade. It's now become a regular part of NRL games and in many respects it has helped to clean up the ruck speed.

Whether or not you like the pocket referee floating in to tell the defenders to move is a moot point. 

The dual referee system allows for greater control of the ruck as one referee isn't being asked to look at all the moving parts.

The era of the wrestle started around 2006 with Melbourne utilising it to great effect along with some creative accounting to play in four consecutive grand finals.

If you'll recall the Storm utilised tactics such as the chicken wing and choke hold to gain control of players on the ground and slow the ruck. Rules were brought in to prevent this from occurring and in 2009 the two referees system was introduced to also help combat the wrestle.

Now, wrestling is a part of the game to an extent, but coaches have whinged about ruck speed ever since JJ Giltinan sat on the board of the NSWRL.

Really, ruck speed and the amount of wrestle allowed is up to the referees. If they're clued in enough then they can call held earlier, thereby increasing the ruck speed.

But V'Landys' decision is also the wrong one given he made it without consulting any of his key stakeholders. As chairman it is not up to him to invent and/or change the rules. 

I also fail to see how an instant call of six again solves anything. Teams have shown they're happy to give away penalties and extra sets. They specifically train to defend for multiple sets. While an instant call of six again may prevent defences getting a rest, there is no evidence this will automatically lead to players clearing the ruck faster.

Then you also have the issue of the captain's challenge. The captain's challenge can only be used at a stoppage in play, so if a referee calls a ruck infringement and awards six again incorrectly, it then cannot be challenged.

Now is not the time to be changing the rules mid-season. V'Landys, in comments in the media, has said he is not damaging the integrity of the game. However, he has done exactly that. We have played two rounds under one set of rules and now we are changing to a completely different structure.

I hope this decision is reversed in time for the season resuming.

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One referee
Two referees

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  • Not agreed. Refs need to go back to actually referring and not be spoon fed by third parties. Current process has taken the game backwards, more refs and more technology = lower standards and more confusion. 

    You are a triple chinned nose whistler

  • I'm happy to see the one ref with two sideline refs take shape. I'm actually quite sick of hearing the second ref issuing warning after warning after warning. Just referee the game, they are big boys stop mothering them with warnings. Six again or blow a penalty, moving right along so the big boppers get a roll on and the little blokes get to show their skills off. Footy at its best.


    • Could not agree more Blue Eel; it all comes back to the refs being consistent with each team; being allowed to enforce the rules and not changing mid season; let the coaches complain as long as they enforce the rules. Its simple for me.


  •  The game was at its best when we had one ref so until we see how it goes we won't know   .



    • Never a truer word. Spot on !

  • Can you add a “will wait and see a few rounds” option?

  • Sorry Super, but the first game back with one ref and six to go, was one of the better games I've seen in a long time. Ref had his hand on the pulse, the six again was awesome to watch. Less stoppages, more metres, little men involved. Absolutely loved it

    • Agree 100% Blue Eel.

  • You have no idea super... You should be suspended for posting this blog

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