In Rugby League we're partial to a few bad decisions more often than not, but who's at fault? Is it the referee's? Or are they being failed by the RFL?
Many within the Super circles would suggest a handful of referees aren't fit for purpose - and who would disagree when you see their performances week in week out - but on the other hand, referees retiring mid-season during a shortage and you're bound to see something give sooner or later wouldn't you reckon?
The only failure within the Rugby League press is to not identify this issue and ask better from the RFL, Instead the RFL are using this as a fund raising exercise while coaches grow slightly more vocal about the declining standards.
What are we going to be left with if this isn't addressed? A heavily debated potential fix during a grand final because of bad decisions? Or maybe better, a win this time against New Zealand in the Semi-Final of the World Cup in Australia later this year.
The NRL boast 19 Referees whereas the RFL settle with 6, obviously in those figures I didn't included the NRL's other full time refereeing staff. Having 5 coaches sure helps keep their standards high, but believe it or not as a former Aussie settler of over 4 years I can assure you they still love a good moan. The RFL boast Steve Ganson, who although despite being a good referee, never possessed the ability to split in 5 now did he?
The widely debated 2 referee system, which if you tune into previous articles you will see I have campaigned for, and will continue, as the standards slip into what Amateur Rugby Union was back in the 70's. Dare I say it unless it is too early to tell, but thank God for Toronto Wolfpack because if they hadn't come along, would the RFL just continue on a steady decline until it was too late? Because little to nothing is being spoken off.
Rugby League is either at the dawn of an awakening, or the end of an era. Not enough time, money or resources is being invested into our referees who create a fantastic, free flowing, minimal error experience for the fans who are spoiled in the NRL. We have to sit and wait, minute after minute, for unclear video ref decisions and referees who miss big calls because they can't be in 2 places at once which consequently, withdraws the sting straight from the game and therefore reduces its appeal.
Hopefully the RFL will take on board what the NRL has done as they have a system that's working in comparison to the RFL's system. Much has been deliberated in the past and financial cost was the reason, but more and more time passes by where you couldn't afford not to.