Referees boss Bernard Sutton in the NRL Bunker.
Referees boss Bernard Sutton in the NRL Bunker.

Monday Buzz: Ref officials leave all their worries behind

AFTER one of the worst years of NRL refereeing in history, the game's two most senior officials have disappeared for a week in the United States.

Referees bosses Bernard Sutton and Tony Archer flew out of the country on Sunday - business class, of course - to attend a Hawkeye forum, visit NFL team the New York Giants, meet with the US Tennis Association and watch a Major League Soccer game. They will be back on Sunday.

Don't worry about the final round and the countdown to the finals. It'll be sweet.

We're not too sure what to make of this. The NRL is paying only for airfares. Accommodation and meals are provided.

The NRL's refereeing media minder Glenn Jackson assures us Archer and Sutton will be on Skype for the important appointments meetings (presumably to make sure brothers Gerard and Chris get good games) and have access to video of any major incidents.

It's just the amount of overseas travel in the past six weeks NRL executives have had.

 

Bernard Sutton is off to the US, with Tony Archer.
Bernard Sutton is off to the US, with Tony Archer.

 

How would you like Todd Greenberg's frequent flyer points in the past six weeks.

Moscow for the soccer World Cup final. Singapore for an international board meeting and New Zealand on Saturday night for the Bledisloe Cup.

Peter Beattie, too. Singapore and New Zealand after a month on the Gold Coast at the start of the year for the Commonwealth Games.

We're not saying they are junkets but when 81 per cent of a readers' poll says you are doing a poor job, you'd probably be better off sticking around to work on the issues fans are blowing up about.

And seriously, was there any need for them to be enjoying the hospitality in a corporate suite at the Wallabies against the All Blacks when there is so much going on back home in their own sport.

 

Todd Greenberg and Peter Beattie were in New Zealand on Saturday night for the Bledisloe Cup. Picture: AP
Todd Greenberg and Peter Beattie were in New Zealand on Saturday night for the Bledisloe Cup. Picture: AP

 

But back to Sutton and Archer. To be fair, they can only go this week because they are guests of Hawkeye at an international officiating forum that was planned months ago for all major sports. Maybe both don't need to be there.

Yet importantly, the game is at least looking at more modern technology to improve the standards of officiating in the NRL.

Maybe they will find something that will allow the bunker to rule on blatant forward passes in try-scoring plays the media and punters are ­asking for.

Is there a better system than the captain's challenge everyone has been talking about? Surely there has to be technology that can accurately rule on 10m off-sides.

Something that will at least stop us whingeing about inconsistency when some refs can stand back eight metres and others 12.

Hawkeye apparently has the technology to put 10-metre grids across the field when required.

At least this sort of equipment can reduce the risk of human error.

Because, to date, the great failure of the NRL bunker has been just that … human error.

And that's something Hawkeye will never be able to fix.

 

 

 

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