NRL drops down to one bunker official following Roosters howler
By Marc Churches
The NRL has officially made changes to the bunker’s decision-making process following a weekend of controversy after Roosters prop Lindsay Collins was denied a try against Newcastle.
Despite the Roosters thrashing the Knights 42-12 on Saturday night, many were left questioning why the bunker in the second half denied what appeared to be a certain try to Collins.
The bunker ruled no-try after Nat Butcher was deemed to have obstructed Newcastle defenders after playing the ball despite standing still and not moving from where the ball was played, as Collins muscled his way over the try-line.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley at his weekly football briefing yesterday admitted the decision was a clear “error”, after bunker officials Jared Maxwell and Beau Scott had a difference of opinions on what the call should’ve been.
A day later and action has officially been made to rectify the NRL bunker’s decision-making process, effective immediately.
In a statement released this afternoon Annesley revealed the NRL had introduced a procedural change, with the bunker dropping down from two officials to just one starting from Round 19.
“Earlier this year the change from two on-field referees to one has simplified officiating, resulting in a high standard being maintained so far this season. Referees have demonstrated increased confidence to make their own decisions,” Annesley said.
"Similarly, by reducing the number of people involved in the review process, we feel Bunker officials will also feel more confident in making decisions without consultation, thereby avoiding potential conflicting views or doubt that may on occasions be created by the involvement of a second review official.
"Importantly though, these changes will be invisible to our clubs and fans on game day. The primary expectation of everyone involved in the game is to see the Bunker make prompt, accurate decisions. They have no interest in what happens behind the scenes so they will notice no difference during games other than what we believe will be improved decision-making.
“Along with all other aspects of officiating and football-related matters, these changes will be reviewed at the end of the season for further Commission input and approval.”