The solution to stop gamesmanship continuing in Rugby League
Leeds coach Brian McDermott says there’s too many penalties and referees boss Steve Ganson believes gamesmanship from players is contributing – and they’re both right.
We’re almost in a vicious circle at the moment, because we have some young referees that I believe are being swayed by fans, and players acting to get that response from the crowd to win a penalty.
There’s no doubt that gamesmanship is creeping in and I hate it – I can’t stand seeing it.
It’s just not for me and I don’t think it’s what rugby league should be about.
The only choice Steve Ganson has at the moment is to continue blooding young referees, and I do think they have to be stronger and not listen to crowds.
But it needs something to break this cycle.
The obstruction rule has been at the centre of a lot of this in televised games, and I think the solution is to put a player alongside the video referee when he’s making his decision.
Nobody understands whether a player is deliberately trying to obstruct better than the players themselves, because their entire week is based around getting that right.
They know when a player is acting or going down on purpose, and when the defensive line is set right.
At the moment it’s become farcical.
There is a different application of the rule when it goes to a video referee than for the other 80 minutes of the game.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t ever be able to put a typical rugby league play on in the whole match – every time a player runs through it would be called as obstruction.
Too many times at the moment people are leaving games scratching their heads about obstruction decisions – it’s over-complicated and impossible to explain to new fans.
I know discussions have taken place on this, and it would be good to see Steve Ganson at the next Super League coaches’ meeting to try and form some common ground going forward.
Between them they need to solve the problem – and I think having a player with the video ref would do that.
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