Sunday 18 February 2018 / 09:29 PM

Six Up The Middle – What the Bunker Won't Solve

Much has been made of the NRL’s new bunker system – but here are six reasons why it will make no marked difference.

Same Refs, Same Thinking

The decision to move to a bunker style situation will reduce the number of video referees used and as such should theoretically improve consistency. But there was no broom put through the referees ranks over the offseason and as such the mentality that has caused so much frustration for so long will remain in place. And the improvement in consistency assumes that each video referee is consistent with their own decisions, something that is patently untrue.


Lawbook Lottery

Rugby league has long had a habit of introducing rules with little understanding of their consequences. The result has been a lawbook that places amendments on top of laws on top of rules on top of conventions. The result is total confusion where the correct decision is not always the common sense decision.


Scope Remains Unchanged

Referees and video referees alike have long expanded the scope and reach of the role of the video referee. The on-field official wishes to defer responsibility. The video ref wants to justify his position. As long as the video referee can adjudicate on play before the tryscoring movement and in the bounds of play then the same issues will continue to play out.




The NRL claims that decisions made in the bunker will be quicker. That certainly wasn’t the case in the All Stars match. It certainly lacks any real logic as to why it would when directors and officials were both at the ground for decisions previously. You can bet your last that the decision-making will be no quicker.


Obstruction Madness

The biggest frustration with video referees typically stems from the inconsistent interpretations of any play involving an obstruction. Until this rule is cleared up, the bunker is helpless to change the perception of how the video referee operates.


Slow Motion Stays On

Slow motion replays can alter the reality of a play. This is particularly true of double-movement and grounding plays. They distort and disfigure and more often than not lead to the wrong decision. Slow motion replays must be prevented in certain situations. The Bunker won’t solve this decade-long issue.



[YouTube – NRL]

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