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HKR AWAY DAYS

Time to show support for the officials...

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As a Rugby League supporter I yearn for improve standards across the whole landscape of the sport, from supporter behaviour in the stands to the product we see on the pitch. One aspect of the game that doesn't seem to have changed much, in my opinion, is the way we as a sport support our officials.

It always seems to me that if the official gives a decent your way, he's o'rite but if he doesn't, he's a wa.... as the appreciative chant goes.

Steve Ganson is again in the spotlight and the reason seems to centre around the implementation of the warning rule, which has shown to be quite prevalent in the televised games he has officiated.

From what I understand, the official can use this rule at his discretion and with Ganson it seems he has adopted a 'three strikes and you're out' policy, if the bradford/Castleford game is anything to go by.

The way I see it is that if the official is consistent -and I think that Ganson has been- then we can't have too much cause for concern. If he gives penalties for genuine infringements, particularly around the ruck area where it seems the majority of the penalties he awards come from, we can't really have any complaints.

For me it is a doubled-edged sword situation. We want a fast, open game with minimal official participation but for the rules to be enforced correctly. That, to me, is quite a difficult balance to find.

I was talking about this with my Dad and although he saw my point of view on this, he also felt Ganson likes to be centre of attention, doesn't have such a great rapport with the players and is generally very 'headmaster-ish'.

For what it is worth, I support the officials and applaud the job they do. I couldn't do it. I understand how difficult it is but still want to see a marked improvement in the standard as well.

I think a lot of Rugby League supporters should cut them some slack and support them to improve our sport in that area as well.

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Some interesting comments

The "team warning" has existed for a long time. It's just the signal that is new

It was always left to the Ref's discretion but 3 relatively quick penalties for say PTB offences would result in a sin bin

The problem now is the signal doesn't allow a Ref to use discretion as fans now expect a sun bin every time

Another problem is that it is early season and penalty counts are always higher at this time of the year

Your comments about Ganson and how he comes over are interesting. IMO there are 2 Gansons. Last Saturdays and a final when in the latter he doesn't give any pens etc. His man management and body language at times is dreadful

Yesit is a very difficult job to referee or touch judge - I did it for 12 years and enjoyed nearly every minute but sometimes players & coaches don't help

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In my experience the officials are usually right. It tends to be the weaker teams who commit most penalties. That's usually because their players man for man are not as good, so they look to take short-cuts.

A few years ago, you would watch match after match with penalties constantly being given for being off-side. Nowadays most SL clubs tend not to give away lots of penalties for this. Most players are now fit enough to constantly get back and forth on the 10m.

Typically lots of pens are now given by teams messing about in the ruck, again often by lesser players who make poor contact in the tackle.

Penalise players who get it wrong, and they'll either improve their fitness or technique, or they'll get dropped for someone else who can.

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Consistencey within a game is all well and good but consistency from one ref to another and week after week is all I ask. Everyone makes mistakes but as long as refs are consistent then we can't ask for any more.

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Referee bashing goes on and on by fans and yet you don't read about too many saying that the referee favoured their side. I know several people from Wigan and St Helens including relatives who wear rose-tinted glasses. You will never please everyone all of the time. I tend to leave well alone because bad decisions do even out over the course of a season. Will it ever change? Nope!

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Great post HKR. Officiating at any level is difficult and there are far too many detractors out there who are so quick to criticise decisions that go against their team. I guess we're all one-eyed in that respect. Similarly, if you look beyond the "consistency" argument in the cold, hard like of day what many want is "consistency" in spotting everything that benefits their team and "consistency" in missing those decisions that aren't. I guess the thing I find difficult is that the player who has a bad game can be forgiven because "nobody's perfect" and he "just had an off day", yet the officials are never afforded this. Sadly, I don't think you'll change the heat of the moment reaction & maybe that's part & parcel of the game. I do it & I'm an ex-ref!! However, I do feel that there are plenty of us who are prepared to look at a game afterwards & change their opinions on the key decisions with the benefit of slow-mo / different camera angles etc. - which I see as quite positive really.

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I got a bit rowdy when Carney was really close to going into touch on Saturday, going against the judgement of a chap 3 feet away as opposed to my 300 feet away in-line in the stand, it's only cos I was really annoyed at that forward pass!

I usually keep a lid on things, only "the obvious" mistakes rile me, I respect the officials and know there isn't a game without them. While they do need thick skins, that's still someone's son (or daughter in the odd occasion). I hope there are more to drive up quality, including ex-players, an un-tapped resource in my eyes. I just think they're missing a trick or two with some simple fixes i.e. a man in the stand for an overall view. However none of this came to me while sat a few seats from our mutual friend Nigel on Saturday.

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I'm always amused that just because a supporter/coach/commentator criticises a decision,its assumed the decision was wrong.Invariably it turns out the initial decision was correct,as Stevo/Hemmings prove week after week!

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Similarly, if you look beyond the "consistency" argument in the cold, hard like of day what many want is "consistency" in spotting everything that benefits their team and "consistency" in missing those decisions that aren't.

This.

Also we get: referees should let the minor penalties go, fans want a quick game -- immediately followed by, there's a lot of niggle at the play-the-ball, the ref should crack down on that.

I'm as biased as anyone when my team's involved but it's amazing how often the officials are better when you're a neutral and/or sober.

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Well said that man!! As someone who does the job I know how hard it is and I also know that the vast majority of decisions are made based upon a completely different view point to the one I have. The forward pass on Saturday was a classic example. With all the players around it was virtually impossible to see from the ground as the reality is none of us has xray vision.

What I find really disheartening is that fans actually think that abuse is acceptablem and try to defend it with how this particular official got it wrong. I don't see these same people apologising for their comments when the official is proved to be right.

I despair at the rubbish Eddie and Stevo feed the fans only to hear it repeated verbatim on message boards and internet forums and social media after games.

A man that stands near us at games is constantly shouting that the ref has the penalty count wrong when in fact it is him that has it wrong but you can't tell him because "you always side witht he officials". if siding with the officials means that until I've actually seen an incident properly to make a reasoned judgement I won't comment then he's probably right.

ex-players in general don't want to officiate for a couple of reasons. Firstly they think it is beneath them to start at the bottom and work their way up like the rest of us have had to and secondly, they couldn't take the abuse!

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A mate of mine referees union where, apparently the team warning signal doesnt exist. Having explained what it was he said he'll now adopt it himeself during union games

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Eddie & Stevo don't help, constantly going on about the officials

"Yes, yes, that's a stunning length of the filed try that, but was there a hint of a forward pass in the build up??"

Cue five minutes of c rap about a marginal pass.

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It often amuses me how after a game you get fans of both teams complaining about how the ref was biased against them! I try and avoid getting involved after a Leeds match as I realise I'm just as biased as everyone else!

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I must say though, I am amazed at how much they need to keep an eye on at once, I really don't envy them

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Eddie & Stevo don't help, constantly going on about the officials

"Yes, yes, that's a stunning length of the filed try that, but was there a hint of a forward pass in the build up??"

Cue five minutes of c rap about a marginal pass.

Not 5 but 80 minutes

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Steve Ganson is again in the spotlight and the reason seems to centre around the implementation of the warning rule, which has shown to be quite prevalent in the televised games he has officiated.

Some interesting comments

The "team warning" has existed for a long time. It's just the signal that is new

It was always left to the Ref's discretion but 3 relatively quick penalties for say PTB offences would result in a sin bin

The problem now is the signal doesn't allow a Ref to use discretion as fans now expect a sun bin every time

Another problem is that it is early season and penalty counts are always higher at this time of the year

Your comments about Ganson and how he comes over are interesting. IMO there are 2 Gansons. Last Saturdays and a final when in the latter he doesn't give any pens etc. His man management and body language at times is dreadful

Yesit is a very difficult job to referee or touch judge - I did it for 12 years and enjoyed nearly every minute but sometimes players & coaches don't help

That should have been worded a bit better. I was talking about the 'circley-arm thing' as my mate calls it; i.e. the signal. :)

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Here's something which may help us all appreciate our referees a little bit more. (I'm as bad as the next speccie when it comes to my own team, but I have got less biased over the years.)

In the 2012 SL season's review, shown on Sky over Christmas, Brian McDermott came up with a very interesting point about RL referees in comparison to their football counterparts, who, I think, are generally fairly inept. In football, a ref has to make a decision, at the most every 15 to 30 seconds, and they still get far too many major decisions wrong. In RL it can at times be a decision every second, if not less than that, so, if they do get a few wrong, it's hardly surprising. They are only human after all. Yes, they are. The other thing is that coaches, club officials and speccies frequently use the ref as an excuse for their own team's deficiencies. I don't ever remember a ref missing a tackle, dropping a ball or throwing a forward pass. And, no, I am not, nor ever have been, a referee.

I couldn't resist this though. I do wish Ronnie Laughton would stop making himself the laughing stock of the game by insisting on using penalties as a way of controlling every game he officiates in.

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That should have been worded a bit better. I was talking about the 'circley-arm thing' as my mate calls it; i.e. the signal. :)

It's the new signal which I think is causing the problem although it has stopped certain captains from slowing the game down by talking to the ref

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