The experience and class of Queensland shone through tonight, defeating NSW 28-18 in tonights opening State of Origin in Melbourne where the Rugby League officiating took centre stage in a controversial affair, a situation that is growing more and more concerning – How are Video Referee’s continually getting replay based decisions wrong?
It took less than 10 minutes for the officials to leave spectators gobsmacked with a video decision that denied NSW a try through Jarryd Hayne down the touchline. It remains simply amazing, that in 2009 – at least 3 video referee decisions have been absolutely incorrect.
With all the video technology in the world available, the footage replayed over and over leaving the crowd bored, yet still both Tim Mander, plus Bill Harrigan in the video box get it all so horribly wrong.
With Hayne millimeters from the sideline, a sideline official within meters with clear view – a sideline official who in real-time ruled ‘play-on’ yet somehow a video decision goes embarrassingly wrong. How can video footage lie? How can two professionals in the box get this wrong? At the very worst case, it was a benefit of the doubt decision to the attacking team (NSW).
The correct call should have been benefit of the doubt, as no video angle conclusively showed a foot touching the sideline. If you can’t prove for or against, it’s naturally a benefit of the doubt call.
We’ve seen the video referee ruin two Bulldogs games this year in the NRL, sadly it has burnt Origin too. Is it a case of video officials getting nervous? Are they trying to look for a reason ‘not’ to award a try? Does the benefit of the doubt rule need to be removed? Or should benefit of the doubt be given to defenders?
Something needs to be done now, as Rugby League is a laughing stock – other sports are sitting back laughing as the video referee changes games. With the strong sportsbook and betting markets around Rugby League now, some corners have become increasingly concerned about such howler decisions going wrong – it makes everyone wonder what is causing such mistakes, so regularly.
The incorrect call placed an enormous amount of pressure on NSW who struggled to deal with the ruling initially.
But Queensland were to suffer a similar poor referee decision. The Maroons left scratching their heads after 4 on-field officials didn’t rule forward pass against Jarryd Hayne that led to a Ben Creagh try.
This decision was immediately refereed to the video referees who were unable to rule on the pass, but it should never have got that far. Again, the referees no matter how large their numbers get it all wrong.
Queensland, with all their class and experience didn’t feel the effects of the poor decision against them and to their credit, continued on their impressive run.
State of Origin is known for it’s free-flowing style, referee’s usually doing their best to stay out of the action and let the game take it’s course. But as Origin for 2009 opened tonight, the referee’s spoiled what should have been a non-stop exciting affair for the Melbourne crowd.
The crowd and TV viewers were also confused by another howler call, mid-way though the first half Ben Creagh getting tackled as he tried to play the ball and was somehow penalised for playing the ball too quickly.
The decision when replayed would have left Tony Archer very red-faced. A call that couldn’t have been more wrong. The poor call here costing NSW valuable possession and thawting a first half raid at the time.
Things could have got real ugly when the next error was made by a sideline official over an off the ball collision. Mid-way through the 2nd half, Jarryd Hayne and Billy Slater collided heavily off the ball in a clash that was clearly unavoidable to both players.
A sideline official racing onto the field to consult with refere Tony Archer, the touchjudge calling for a penalty – however Archer upon sneaking a look at the replay screen decided to caution Hayne rather than blow a penalty, correcting the error from the touchy.
Queensland were the next to have to deal with poor officiating, as they lined up to slot a late field goal to put themselves ahead by 7 points – the Darren Lockyer attempted drop-kick was pressured by a clearly off-side Robbie Farah from NSW. Farah jumped out of the 10m gates extremely early and it was clearly visible, but the referees (both on-field men) chose not to penalise.
This penalty would have given Queensland 2 valuable points and ensured they won.
In the end, the Maroons were more than good enough to close out the game. But both sides shouldn’t have to deal with such poor standards of officialdom. Sadly, they played way too much a part in what could have been an even more enjoyable game.