Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

jonathon. tuxworth@ news. com. au @ bul­let­in_ sport IT’S a com­mon­place sight at vir­tu­ally ev­ery re­gional foot­ball ground. A hand­ful of fans, usu­ally knock­ing back a few ales, who feel it’s their God- given right to hurl abuse at the of­fi­cials be­cause they paid their five bucks to get in. Of­ten the ref­er­ees can be quite young. Some give up their Satur­day or Sun­day af­ter­noons for peanuts, with be­ing in­volved in the game they love their main com­pen­sa­tion. There wouldn’t be a game with­out a ref­eree. It’s not a cliche, it’s fact. And it’s why if the NRL are fair dinkum about stamp­ing out ref crit­i­cism by coaches in post- match press con­fer­ences, the penalty must in­crease. It’s a case of mon­key see, mon­key do. The av­er­age punter sees high pro­file NRL coaches shoot­ing from the hip, which gives them the im­pres­sion it’s ac­cept­able. As it stands the fine for a breach is $ 10,000 which has been dealt out by the NRL to Dragons men­tor Paul McGre­gor and Cow­boys coach Paul Green the past two weeks. Clearly it isn’t a big enough de­ter­rent as both en­tered their re­spec­tive press con­fer­ences with a pre­med­i­tated plan to take aim at the of­fi­cials.

On face value at least, Green’s was a head- scratcher. It came af­ter the Cow­boys put in a brave ef­fort against league lead­ers Mel­bourne, de­spite los­ing ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers Gavin Cooper and An­to­nio Win­ter­stein to in­jury early.

The first ques­tion asked by a jour­nal­ist was about how coura­geous the per­for­mance was. The com­ments about ref­er­ees was un­prompted and never raised by the me­dia pack.

The nar­ra­tive was never go­ing to be ‘ the Cow­boys were aw­ful’, so it can’t be con­strued as a ploy to dis­tract jour­nal­ists from how they played. It may have been an out­pour­ing of frus­tra­tion af­ter the Roost­ers won the sec­ond half penalty count 6- 2 in beat­ing the Cow­boys in Sydney the week be­fore.

This is just a guess, but it’s been thrown up by a few peo­ple it’s to try to get the odd 50- 50 call head­ing into Septem­ber, which would make it money well spent.

“That was the worst ref­er­ee­ing dis­play I have ever seen,” Green said.

“There were some calls where they lacked con­sis­tency.

“I’m not one to shift the blame away from our per­for­mance, but the fans de­served more than that.

“There were two qual­ity teams out there and I was left scratch­ing my head at some of the calls.

“I said to the boys af­ter the game I’ve never been in­volved in a game where so many things have gone against us ... it’s just a shame the refs ru­ined the game.”

It ef­fec­tively took some of the spot­light away from a gritty Cow­boys per­for­mance de­spite their in­jury woes.

Ear­lier this week Eels leg­end Nathan Hind­marsh sug­gested in­creas­ing the penalty to $ 50,000 to dis­cour­age coaches from declar­ing war on the sys­tem. It has its mer­its.

Many may not re­alise the $ 10,000 fine doesn’t come out of the coach’s wal­let. It is sim­ply de­ducted from a club’s NRL grant.

That’s ef­fec­tively a drop in the ocean, es­pe­cially if a club feels they can gain a slight edge by get­ting into the ref­eree’s head in one of the clos­est com­pe­ti­tions in the world.

Per­haps it’s the chicken or the egg the­ory. Maybe the qual­ity of the ref­er­ee­ing ranks isn’t as strong as it could be, be­cause some promis­ing of­fi­cials aren’t pre­pared to put up with the vit­riol sent their way.

When they have a great game with­out any con­tro­versy, no coach ever walks into a post- game press con­fer­ence singing their praises.

If they did oc­ca­sion­ally, per­haps the of­fi­cials would be will­ing to cop an ear bash­ing if they de­serve it.

As a game in gen­eral, rugby league should be teach­ing re­spect for author­ity to our young­sters com­ing through, and it starts from the top.

At the end of the day it must be remembered the ref­er­ees are giv­ing up part of their week­end so play­ers and spec­ta­tors can en­joy them­selves.

NOT HAPPY: Cow­boys coach Paul Green was fired up at the post game me­dia con­fer­ence fol­low­ing his side’s loss at home to the Mel­bourne Storm.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.