Tribunal on Trial - Bunnies Hopping Mad over Penalty

Refs fear tough calls because of public fallout: McCallum


Ref Ashley Klein.

The NRL is making life “impossible” for referees and the bunker because “there is hell to pay” when they get a decision wrong over what constitutes a sin bin and send off, and what doesn’t.

That is the message from former NRL referees’ boss and match review chairman Greg McCallum, who is adamant the confusion can be easily fixed if the governing body is prepared to tackle the problem head-on. And that means they need to “get tougher” and “raise the bar”. But McCallum argued the fear of public criticism is what makes it difficult to make hard calls in the heat of the battle.

“I think that has been the underlying problem over the last decade,” McCallum said.

“If you get it wrong there is hell to pay.

“I think it has caused them to back away from making the decisions that are going to put them into the spotlight in terms of dismissing players from the field.”

But the way to fix it is not to go soft.

McCallum also reckons the confusion over inconsistency can relate to an individual’s previous experience.

For instance, he reasons Ashley Klein’s decision to send off Jack Hetherington for his careless high tackle on Valentine Holmes would have had something to do with the fact Klein was also caught up in the drama that followed his decision not to dismiss Melbourne’s Felise Kaufusi for his sickening tackle that severely concussed Parramatta’s Ryan Matterson.

“So he has obviously copped a rocket,” McCallum said.

“So when he is presented with (what happened in Townsville on Sunday) he will dismiss the player.

“There seems to be a disjoint between the referees, the bunker and the judiciary.

“That is how it appears to me from the outside.

“And sometimes when you get to this position you have to go a little bit the other way. You have to come down a bit harder until you can get control of it.”

He reckons Latrell Mitchell should also have been sin binned for his dangerous shot on David Nofoaluma.

Just as I said yesterday, “the NRL lack Kahuna’s!”

1 Like

Tigers paid for the sins of other sides


A COMMON headache shared among the bottom half of the competition is that far too often the 50-50 calls in the game go 60-40 against.

This is tremendous news for the better teams. Not so much for those trying to get there.

It is a subconscious bias that exists among the referees and the reason scouting reports by referees on players should be banned forever.

It slaughtered the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

Over the first five rounds, the referees noticed how the markers were splitting early to try to shut down Damien Cook at the ruck. Cook is the game’s most damaging dummy-half runner. One chance and he is gone.

To regain control of the ruck, the referees went into Saturday’s game with an emphasis on being more diligent in that area.

The decision, made before a ball was kicked, immediately helped Cook and it did not matter what the Tigers tried. They were paying for the sins of the teams that played Souths before them.

The snowball effect creates bigger problems, too. Over the game, the close calls increasingly went South Sydney’s way.

After the most disapp o i n t i n g performance of the season, when they failed to show up for the first half against North Queensland, the Tigers responded with the kind of performance on Saturday that can turn around a season.

They got into the battle against the Rabbitohs, who ultimately prevailed because they performed better in more crucial moments than the Tigers.

That the Tigers lost shows where they are in their progression. The improvement comes slowly.

What does not help is the subconscious bias shown by the referees.

For years now, referees have been studying players in the hope their homework improves their decisions on the field.

Everything about it is wrong.

It creates a subconscious bias which, like the Tigers trying to defend Cook, punishes teams for the sins of those who came before them.

It was not Wests Tigers’ fault that earlier teams were splitting markers to defend against Cook, or that the referees missed it, and it is very much not Cook’s fault.

But it was the Tigers who paid the price as the referees penalised anything close to an early split at marker.

Under eight six-again rulings, the Tigers’ defence began to labour.

Once there was a time when referees got a feel for the game and adjudicated according to style.

This feel for the game died under the two-referee system. The buzzword became all about “consistency”, which was absurd.

Jack Hetherington was in a different game when he was sent off than Victor Radley was when he was sin-binned. Similar tackles, but not the same, and in entirely different circumstances.

What constitutes consistency? The referee in each game called it as he saw it.

It is impossible to achieve consistency in every game in every week, yet it has become the never-ending narrative. The best that can be hoped for is that a referee is consistent from the first minute to the last, allowing the game to flow in between.

This search for consistency has led the game to where, the moment a new rule or interpretation is invoked, coaching staffs immediately brainstorm ways to beat it. The referees’ good intentions are being used against them.

The Tigers were strong on Saturday and it could be the start of their rise. Or it might become irrelevant if they cannot repeat the effort against Manly again this Sunday.

This is the Tigers at the moment.

And it is Canterbury and the Cowboys and Manly, and even St George Illawarra, all trying to bridge the gap while hoping for a fair go.

Bunnyone you have put me in a terrible mood for the rest of the day and Bad Chuck wants blood.
I open up the first article for the day and what do I see “fucking Ashley Klein”!
Thanks mate!!!


I try and help where I can Chuck.

1 Like

Your a bad man Bunny :wink:

1 Like

Not talking about the specifics of that game but Kent is right about the lower clubs and 50/50’s. About a decade ago when Warren Ryan was a commentator on ABC radio he spoke at length about this. He was saying it was one of the things that made it tough for sides to get off the bottom of the table. The bias or perception that for the lower sides to keep up with the top sides must slow down the play the ball, hold on in the tackle, split at markers etc. He said when he had analysed games there was very little difference in the times the lower sides took to get of players etc compared to the top teams but inevitably the bottom sides would lose the penalty count against the top sides. He said the biggest factor that kept sides on the bottom was player talent and the ability to ice a play. Basically, just one or two class players short of those sides above them. That segment he did really stuck with me. The guy was a master coach and really knew his stuff.


Total nonsense from Kent the dribbler as usual

You can’t head into a game with a game plan to bend and break the rules and then complain about consistency. Best case scenario is you are getting away with cheating, worst case is that the rules are being called the way they are supposed to be


NRL 2021: Round 6 judiciary charges - Jack Hetherington, Latrell Mitchell, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Zane Musgrove, Victor Radley, Aiden Tolman, Paul Momirovski - NRL

Hetherington accepts five-match ban; Trio taking on judiciary

Titans forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will spend a two-week stint on the sidelines for a shoulder charge after entering an early guilty plea.

Player Latrell Mitchell
Club Rabbitohs
Time Minute of Match 32nd
Charge/Incident Dangerous contact - head/neck
Grade 2
7yrs incident-free discount? No
Base penalty 300
Prior Similar Offences in last 2 years (50% loading) 0
Prior Non-similar Offences in last 2 years (20% loading) 2
Carry-over points 0
Early plea points 315
Guilty at panel points 420
Misconduct on whom? David Nofoaluma

A Warren Ryan classic: “Every team needs 6 Props: 2 on the field, 2 on the bench and 2 on suspension.”


This is true. The first time they got pinged for split markers the message should have gotten through and Maguire should have made sure that it was communicated to the captain. Second time, why didn’t we work out the issue, third time…well just accept that the dummies aren’t smart enough to change tactics.
Nobody to blame except the dummies.


Victor Radley just got off from suspension…fine only (that right he’s a rooster)

9.28pm: Verdict. Radley has been successful in getting the careless high tackle charge downgraded. A $1900 fine is his penalty.

1 Like

Trell prob be upgrade now…

1 Like

2 min ago
9.58pm: NRL counsel Peter McGrath submits that Nofoaluma escaped with a bloodied mouth after the tackle but the risk of greater injury was significant.
(Not looking good)

9.58pm: NRL counsel Peter McGrath submits that Nofoaluma escaped with a bloodied mouth after the tackle but the risk of greater injury was significant.
But McGrath says it won’t be “comparing apples to apples” because Friend tried to make a normal tackle whereas Mitchell didn’t.

10.05pm: As in Paul Momirovski’s earlier hearing, former Roosters hooker Jake Friend’s grade one dangerous contact charge (head/neck) for a tackle on Dragons halfback Adam Clune last year is being used as a comparable example.

Doesn’t seem real bright using the same example that failed :roll_eyes::man_shrugging:

1 Like

10.20pm: Mitchell’s lawyer Nick Ghabar urges the panel to consider the “unusual circumstances” in which the offence occurred.

While Friend “had time” and no immediate need to make the tackle on Clune in the comparable example, Ghabar says Mitchell was forced into a split-second decision because of “the imminent possibility of a try being scored”.
He argues that Mitchell, in fact, attempted to look out for Nofoaluma by turning his body and trying to pull out of contact.

Otherwise, Ghabar continues, the fullback’s shoulder would have made contact “probably with the sternum” of his opponent.

The defence claims that self-preservation was another factor while Mitchell only had eyes for the ball.

Ghabar says that “short of player Mitchell having eyes in the back of his head” he couldn’t have known where Nofoaluma was when contact to the head was made.


Very very good point by Ghabar