OPINION | Three referee interpretations that need to go for 2020

“In 2019, match officials have been directed by the NRL to allow games to flow where possible, at least to the extent the actions of the players permit that to occur.” (Graham Annesley – Head of Football)

With the recent growing ire towards officials, Matt Pritchard takes a look at three interpretations that need to be amended in 2020.

We are at the crossroads with the game becoming too technical and analytical. Justifications are being made to refer as many decision to the multi-million dollar NRL Bunker with some baffling decisions being made. If only the game could be simplified to make fans happier about watching the game. It might be a pipe dream.

Here’s a couple of interpretations that need to go in 2020 to make our game better.

Stealing the ball

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Current Interpretation

Stealing the Ball
a. The ball can be stolen from the player in possession at any stage prior to a tackle being complete when there is only one defender effecting the tackle,
b. If there are two or more defender[s] effecting the tackle and the ball is stolen a penalty should be rewarded

At first the Stealing the Ball interpretation was a reward for the team without possession to regain the ball. Players like Josh Hodgson and Cameron Munster have made an art of perfecting the steal. As the season has gone on and teams have developed their strategy, grey areas have started to appear. Foremost, the referee has a split second call to determine whether players had dropped off the tackle. With no video referral as an option, this rule will need amending. As to how it should be interpreted in 2020 is the million dollar question.

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