Captains challenge potentially just around the corner

The idea of it is one that has been talked about in rugby league circles for quite some time, and now, it may be coming closer to materialising – with the NRL set to review the possibility of a challenge system (much like Tennis has), to be a part of their game.

Whilst the idea has potential, referees boss Bill Harrigan is not opposed to the idea itself, but wants to ensure that any grey areas with the rule and system are ironed out, before any serious decision about its future is made.

The discussion of such a system comes after Harrigan spent the last week at the Australian Open, where he had the chance to see how the hawk-eye and referral systems, worked first-hand.

“We had a whole heap of ideas on the table, things like captains’ challenges and shot clocks,” he said.

“Some of them were disregarded, but the captain’s challenge was one we agreed was a priority to have a closer look at this year. Personally, I’m not opposed to it at all. From a referee’s perspective, I’ve got no problems.

“But from a rugby league perspective, there are logistical issues that would need to be worked out.

“For one, I would not like to see it disrupt the flow of the game. Unlike tennis, we’ve got a flowing, running game. You need to work out limits as to when it could be called for. But if we can get it right, I’d have no problem.”

The implementation of such an idea, first arose close to 2 years ago, when then Manly CEO Graham Lowe strongly suggested it be implemented, after his side lost a game in the final minutes, due to a forward pass by the Eels.

Something else that caught the eye of Harrigan during his time at the Australian Open, was how tennis umpires assess the performance of the lines-people.

“It’s great to have cross-pollination and see what the two sports can teach one another,” he said.

“They have a very sophisticated system of assessing lines-people, and I didn’t realise they were ranked according to which line on the court they adjudicate.”

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