NRL great PAUL GALLEN will appear on Nine’s 100% FOOTY every Monday night of the NRL season, debating rugby league’s hottest topics alongside Phil Gould and James Bracey. Tune in tonight at 9.40pm (AEST) as grand final week begins!
There’s reports that Peter V’landys and the NRL are getting serious about bringing in special technology to rule on forward passes to stamp out bad decisions like the Walsh one.
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But what about some accountability from the officials who made such a blatant error?
That was just a howler. Everyone saw it apart from the three people who needed to see it and I don’t know how they didn’t see it.
Gerard Sutton was the referee on the field and even if he didn’t get any help from his touch judge, he should have been able to make a call on a pass that went three metres forward.
I just think it’s an absolute error. When there’s humans involved there’s going to be errors at times but that was a howler and I don’t know how they didn’t see it. It was up there with the worst decision I’ve seen all year.
The problem with a mistake like that is that it always seems to lead to calls for more technology. I haven’t seen the forward pass technology that they’re looking at. I don’t know how it works, so it’s hard for me to completely dismiss it, but there are already far too many stoppages in our game.
When I’m working for Nine at a 4 o’clock game there are times when I could leave at half-time because the playing time drags out so much that there’s barely any time for discussion after full-time before it’s time to go to 9News. The game goes for so long and it goes for so long because of all the stoppages.
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We’re trying to bring fatigue into the game, we’re trying to make the game as entertaining as possible and fatigue plays a big role in opening things up for the exciting attacking plays.
The NRL reduced interchanges to try to slow the big men down so that the smaller playmakers could reclaim centre stage, but there’s a problem with that because every team rorts the HIA (head injury assessment) system to get more interchanges – they’re sometimes getting 12 interchanges a game because of HIA.
We’re trying to speed the game up and now we’re looking at bringing in more technology to stop and see if a forward pass was thrown? We’re slowing the game down way too much. For every action there’s a reaction.
I agree we don’t want howlers in big games but if you start examining every pass to see if it goes forward or not it’s going to slow things down too much.
Maybe this new technology can be used really quickly and without extra stoppages, so I’m not going to rubbish it without knowing all the details, but I think we’ve got to be really careful with extra technology because the game’s too slow at the moment.
Looking ahead to the grand final, I think Adam Gee has to be the referee appointed. We saw last week that Ashley Klein got axed after a big mistake in a big game, well that left us with Gerard Sutton and Adam Gee for the two prelims, and Sutton was involved in another game where a big mistake was made.
It’d be a nightmare for the NRL if the grand final was decided by a howler, so it needs to reward Adam Gee for the clean game he oversaw between the Panthers and Storm and take Sutton out of the decider.
In the past you’ve heard claims that there’s a ‘boys’ club’ in the referee ranks at the NRL and if Adam Gee’s not the NRL grand final referee then maybe there is.
Gee has been outstanding all year, he hasn’t been involved in a howler in the finals series, he’s a human being so he may be involved in one on grand final day, but if he doesn’t get the grand final job then there’s something wrong.
They’ve got the best attack in the comp, they’re the best defensive side and they’ve got the best completion rate.
I think these days we get a bit confused about how to win a game of rugby league but it comes down to the basic principles that have been around for 115 years: Hit hard, run harder than the opposition, tackle harder than the opposition.
If you do that and you hold the ball you’re going to be in every single game and the Panthers are ranked number one in all the fundamental areas. They’re the best team in the competition for a reason.
It’ll take a mighty effort from the Broncos, who have done exceptionally well to bounce back and make a grand final so quickly after hitting rock bottom and collecting a wooden spoon in 2020.
What they’ve done as a club to bring through that group of kids has been unbelievable. They’re repaying their supporters for staying with them in the dark times but I think in this case the old saying that ‘you’ve got to lose one to win one’ might ring true.
I’m tipping the Panthers to win by 8, with Nathan Cleary to take home another Clive Churchill Medal.