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20 Feb 2018 1:02
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Coaches back NRL refs but not the bunker

    While coaches were divided over NRL referees copping a blast, Wayne Bennett says a solution after another controversial week was to scrap the bunker.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Coaches may have been divided over NRL referees copping a post-match blast but Wayne Bennett was adamant when asked for a solution after another controversial week -- scrap the bunker.

    Bennett didn't hold back after a spate of contentious decisions from referees and the bunker in NRL finals week one ensured the spotlight was on officials ahead of the sudden death semi-finals.

    NRL boss Todd Greenberg called a press conference this week to tell coaches to "grow up" after Cronulla's Shane Flanagan and Manly's Trent Barrett were fined a total of $50,000 for venting over referees as they bowed out of the finals.

    While Sydney Roosters' Trent Robinson and Melbourne master mentor Craig Bellamy threw their support behind the referees on Thursday, Bennett believed the solution was to ditch the $2 million bunker and revert back to one whistleblower.

    "I would scrap the bunker, I would do it tomorrow," Bennett said.

    "Personally I didn't want it to come in in the first place.

    "I think we need less technology than more, I hope we go that way in the future."

    Bennett could also empathise with Barrett and Flanagan after they were heavily fined for their post-match rants.

    "It is pretty unfair on the coaches because their season is finished and they are in a pretty bad emotional state," Bennett said.

    "Then they go to a press conference and are asked about the referees -- it's pretty hard not to say what you really think.

    "It's the last place you want to be."

    Bellamy admitted it was hard to keep emotions in check after a controversial loss.

    "To go into a press conference and you're boiling up over something whether it be referees or whatever -- it's hard for that not to come out," Bellamy said.

    "It would be great if you could do it (press conference) the next morning but I know that's not a viable proposition."

    Bellamy said he would think twice before a post-match referee bake after claiming Greenberg's press conference was a wake-up call.

    "I just thought Todd handled that really well," he said.

    "When you're heavily involved in the game, you know the grassroots -- the kids and their coaches -- they're all watching.

    "Sometimes we forget that we should be setting an example for our game.

    "It was a good reminder for all of us I think."

    Robinson believed bunker debate should be left until post season and urged referees to take charge in the NRL finals.

    He had no problem with the bunker and was a fan of on-field match officials making the big calls rather than relying too heavily on video replays.

    "The bunker's an aid. It helps in decisions. The touch judges help in decisions," he said.

    "But the head referee, he's in charge.

    "Where I stand at the moment is I like dominant referees, the confidence they get from that.

    "And that's how you grow the best referees, allowing them to make decisions and make calls."


    NZN




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