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Best Ref performance of season?


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1 hour ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

I don't think the classroom teacher student comparison is a good one, refs apply the laws of the game, teachers are there to develop and educate people, that would be a comparison with a coach not a ref.

It is interesting that we see the referee's 'coaching' or 'managing' the players far more than we used to though (at least to my recollection).

Every scrum (when we had them) we had the ref shouting 'clear' or 'out' when the ball was away from the scrum or 'move' to the tacklers at every tackle.

If all the referee's were obliged to do was penalise a team for breaking too early from a scrum or not releasing a tackled player then we wouldn't be so dependent on finding referees who were better at 'game management'.

I'm trying to think of other sports where the referee's coach the players to not break the laws as the game is in play. Certainly the other rugby code does it but I can't think of any more apart from that.  Maybe it is the nature of Rugby.

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34 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

 

I'm trying to think of other sports where the referee's coach the players to not break the laws as the game is in play. Certainly the other rugby code does it but I can't think of any more apart from that.  Maybe it is the nature of Rugby.

RL is different to other sports though  - I can't think of another sport which requires so many decision points from a referee. Every tackle needs a decision on foul play, holding down, square at the marker and offside from the defensive line.

So with hundreds of tackles a game the current thinking is you need to inform the players of your decision making live to prevent penalties rather than just give them without a chance to avoid it.

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7 minutes ago, M j M said:

RL is different to other sports though  - I can't think of another sport which requires so many decision points from a referee. Every tackle needs a decision on foul play, holding down, square at the marker and offside from the defensive line.

So with hundreds of tackles a game the current thinking is you need to inform the players of your decision making live to prevent penalties rather than just give them without a chance to avoid it.

It never used to happen at all, but it's become complex where it wasn't such as the ruck, so sadly I feel it's evolved into this

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20 minutes ago, M j M said:

RL is different to other sports though  - I can't think of another sport which requires so many decision points from a referee. Every tackle needs a decision on foul play, holding down, square at the marker and offside from the defensive line.

So with hundreds of tackles a game the current thinking is you need to inform the players of your decision making live to prevent penalties rather than just give them without a chance to avoid it.

While I don't disagree with what you say, the way we see the game today is indicative of how this approach has evolved.

We don't play the sport by the laws of the game, we play the sport based on how much we are prepared to tolerate having those laws broken.  Almost every play the ball is is incorrect and should be penalized and the fact that they are not is because we tolerate them being played incorrectly.  And of course, not to this extent initially, they have gradually become the mess they are now.

You say that square at the marker or offside needs to be managed and the players informed.  But why not just penalize players not square or offside?  They will be square and onside next time (or get penalized again).

Every game sees hundreds of examples of the laws of the game being broken and we expect the referees to let these go while keeping the game flowing and then penalize the more blatant instances of foul play.  While all the time demanding consistency in their decision making.

If we could rewind the clock 20 or 30 years and stop the rot setting in with some of the parts of our game that have devolved into a mess I think we would be in a far better place.  

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18 minutes ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

It never used to happen at all, but it's become complex where it wasn't such as the ruck, so sadly I feel it's evolved into this

I think there were just as many issues at the ruck but they were rarely penalised.  I’ve lost track how many times someone tried to kick the ball, at the PTB, and kicked my hands.  I don’t remember them getting penalised much either.

Ive held back on this thread as I have my own thoughts on the Refs, but being at the Hull v Hull KR game on Saturday, it was quite noticeable how much the Ref was coaching the players.  One thing bugged me though, his inconsistency with offside from the PTB.  

I am ok with that if it’s the same all round but at one point in the 2nd half he actually reached forward and touched a player to stop him going early.  The player still carried on into the tackle.  I’ve been involved in this game for a lot of years and things like that aren’t right.  I’m not asking for perfect just consistency.  Forget the coaching. Easy enough to consistently follow the Rules, cut the banter, with the players and make hand signals clear.  

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In addition I’ve said before I just do not understand why officiating differs determined by if you have the ball or not. Where in the rule  book is this ? Defending teams get treated strictly and pinged  , even with  50/50’s . But I get bemused when I hear refs at the ruck say to ball carriers ‘ you took out the marker , go back ‘ . Eh ?  Take a tap from the wrong place … do it again . Or you had men infront do it again . Why ? Move off the mark( to much of this ) … go back please , obstruction … throw yourself down fella it’s ok . By the way anyone who throws themselves to the floor before there’s any contact from a defender should be immediately penalised , that’s not rugby league . Slow the ptb down if you’re winning …you’ve dropped it at the ptb … well the marker was crowding you ,looking at you , whatever . Etc . I find it rather strange . There are laws but we enforce them inconsistently and I always feel some are seen as more important than others . 

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30 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

I think there were just as many issues at the ruck but they were rarely penalised.  I’ve lost track how many times someone tried to kick the ball, at the PTB, and kicked my hands.  I don’t remember them getting penalised much either.

Ive held back on this thread as I have my own thoughts on the Refs, but being at the Hull v Hull KR game on Saturday, it was quite noticeable how much the Ref was coaching the players.  One thing bugged me though, his inconsistency with offside from the PTB.  

I am ok with that if it’s the same all round but at one point in the 2nd half he actually reached forward and touched a player to stop him going early.  The player still carried on into the tackle.  I’ve been involved in this game for a lot of years and things like that aren’t right.  I’m not asking for perfect just consistency.  Forget the coaching. Easy enough to consistently follow the Rules, cut the banter, with the players and make hand signals clear.  

They changed the way this was reffed a few years ago. If the player isn't involved in play they ignore it to reduce the amount of offside calls and stopping the flow of the game. This is where I worry about people blaming the ref for stopping the flow of the game, they don't blow they are inconsistent, if they do they are stopping the flow. Seems they are blamed regardless.

If not coaching which I also don't like, they will be blowing more as they will have to, then people will complain the ref didn't manage the players 

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33 minutes ago, DavidM said:

In addition I’ve said before I just do not understand why officiating differs determined by if you have the ball or not. Where in the rule  book is this ? Defending teams get treated strictly and pinged  , even with  50/50’s . But I get bemused when I hear refs at the ruck say to ball carriers ‘ you took out the marker , go back ‘ . Eh ?  Take a tap from the wrong place … do it again . Or you had men infront do it again . Why ? Move off the mark( to much of this ) … go back please , obstruction … throw yourself down fella it’s ok . By the way anyone who throws themselves to the floor before there’s any contact from a defender should be immediately penalised , that’s not rugby league . Slow the ptb down if you’re winning …you’ve dropped it at the ptb … well the marker was crowding you ,looking at you , whatever . Etc . I find it rather strange . There are laws but we enforce them inconsistently and I always feel some are seen as more important than others . 

Similar to my previous point, asking them to go to the mark is to keep the game flowing.

Sometimes a penalty seems harsh for the infringement, this is why the 6 again came in.

For me playing the ball again or handing the ball back if passed after the held call is fine. The attacking team have been punished as the play has stopped and the defence gets set, seems proportionate to me. But yes I can see why it's perceived as incorrect or inconsistent.

I think the perception of inconsistency is greater than the reality.

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1 minute ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

Similar to my previous point, asking them to go to the mark is to keep the game flowing.

Sometimes a penalty seems harsh for the infringement, this is why the 6 again came in.

For me playing the ball again or handing the ball back if passed after the held call is fine. The attacking team have been punished as the play has stopped and the defence gets set, seems proportionate to me. But yes I can see why it's perceived as incorrect or inconsistent.

I think the perception of inconsistency is greater than the reality.

Taking out a marker in the NRL isnt penalised , why ? Crowding a ball carrier is a penalty right ? In many instances I could / did go into there is no perception of inconsistency , there’s just inconsistency that’s become entrenched and accepted . These things  are not the fault of the opposition , they’re self inflicted 

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9 minutes ago, DavidM said:

Taking out a marker in the NRL isnt penalised , why ? Crowding a ball carrier is a penalty right ? In many instances I could / did go into there is no perception of inconsistency , there’s just inconsistency that’s become entrenched and accepted . These things  are not the fault of the opposition , they’re self inflicted 

They can blow for everyone of those, but that would slow the game down. Players cannot get back onside quickly enough, quick play balls would be penalties, it would be a pen every other PTB.

I believe they balance it out. If there's a surrender tackle and they play the ball quick, or step forward to play the ball they actually shorten the ten, they allow play to continue as there's no advantage gained. If they don't surrender and win the ground battle then they will blow as you gained the advantage, hence the perception of inconsistency where I don't believe there is. 

Do we want the game to flow or do we want a pen for every infringement even if it doesnt affect play? It cannot be both

Ian touches on it in the modern ruck episode on this list 

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxE2HKdRQnvg4PJLj2Z52mQlG_gD1_1i7

 

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1 hour ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

They changed the way this was reffed a few years ago. If the player isn't involved in play they ignore it to reduce the amount of offside calls and stopping the flow of the game. This is where I worry about people blaming the ref for stopping the flow of the game, they don't blow they are inconsistent, if they do they are stopping the flow. Seems they are blamed regardless.

If not coaching which I also don't like, they will be blowing more as they will have to, then people will complain the ref didn't manage the players 

Be interested in reading that rule change then.  How does that work?  A player jumps off early, he catches the ball carriers eye who then changes direction, then what?

If a player interferes or influences play, in any form, there should be a penalty.  No blame thing (certainly ever from me) involved but that shouldn’t even come into the equation.  It’s a professional game.  

 

 

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Personally I think the game would benefit massively from slowing down.

What I mean by this is the frantic nature of the ruck.  We have allowed the roll ball to be introduced in order to speed up the game by restarting play on each ruck as quickly as possible.  Partly in an attempt to mitigate the wrestle and multiple players in the tackle and partly to follow the mantra that 'faster is always better' which seems to be prevalent.

I would enforce a proper ruck and a proper play the ball in an attempt to slow down the play in this area.  This would mean more structured defenses but it would also mean that attacking plays are more inventive to break them down.

A slower ruck does not mean slower plays or players, they can still showcase their skills and athleticism and in my opinion they would be able to showcase them better if the game were not a frantic as it is now.  There may be fewer tries but there may also be better games.

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4 hours ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

It never used to happen at all, but it's become complex where it wasn't such as the ruck, so sadly I feel it's evolved into this

It really did used to happen, refs have "coached" players since forever, it just wasn't seen as much then.  

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54 minutes ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

Not when I played, (80s, 90s) the odd one might say something very occasionally but nothing like today, nowhere near. 

So it did used to happen then, but now the goal posts have moved to it wasn't as much?

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15 hours ago, dkw said:

So it did used to happen then, but now the goal posts have moved to it wasn't as much?

It was one of the first things I was recommended to do when I first started refereeing over 20 years ago. “Talk to the players to keep the game flowing” and that way you avoided having to give penalties. What you see and hear now is no different to what was happening all those years ago

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18 hours ago, Dunbar said:

Personally I think the game would benefit massively from slowing down.

What I mean by this is the frantic nature of the ruck.  We have allowed the roll ball to be introduced in order to speed up the game by restarting play on each ruck as quickly as possible.  Partly in an attempt to mitigate the wrestle and multiple players in the tackle and partly to follow the mantra that 'faster is always better' which seems to be prevalent.

I would enforce a proper ruck and a proper play the ball in an attempt to slow down the play in this area.  This would mean more structured defenses but it would also mean that attacking plays are more inventive to break them down.

A slower ruck does not mean slower plays or players, they can still showcase their skills and athleticism and in my opinion they would be able to showcase them better if the game were not a frantic as it is now.  There may be fewer tries but there may also be better games.

Spot on.  Players in a gang tackle time their release to perfection and then wait for the Refs nod to finally let him go.  This could be mitigated somewhat by the Ref calling ‘held’ early.  All players should release immediately after that call and not then keep hold, cradle the tackled player to the ground and then look at the Ref for acknowledgement.

I think that in this forthcoming off season, Referees will engage with Coaches regarding tackling technique anyway.  That could have an impact on the gang tackle delays and holding down.

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On 23/08/2021 at 10:28, David Dockhouse Host said:

I don't think the classroom teacher student comparison is a good one, refs apply the laws of the game, teachers are there to develop and educate people, that would be a comparison with a coach not a ref.

Apologies for the late reply. 

I think the classroom comparison of a good one (having been a referee and currently a teacher, I can see the similarities in both very well). Referees' roles are not solely to apply the laws of the game: part of their role is to also help create an environment where the rules are more likely to be applied (behaviour management, you could say). Things like speaking to the players (and how they speak to players), calming things down, explaining decisions, warning captains, being consistent with their application of the rules, etc. are all part of this role. If referees simply apply the rules of the game and blow up for every technical offence, the match environment becomes an incredibly frustrating place and the spectacle awful. Too much goes on in rugby league to have that approach towards officiating. 

The teaching comparison comes as one of the many hats of a teacher is the application of the school's rules (just like a referee): applying them consistently, using common sense, communicating with students, where and when to discipline, etc. Inexperienced teachers struggle massively with behaviour management as they haven't the strategies to deal with it effectively. The worst ones are those that come in with the "do as I say" or "follow the rules or else" attitude - their use of tone and language is poor, they don't communicate effectively and they simply frustrate people, creating an environment where it is more likely the rules will actually be broken than followed.

This is NOT an absolution of responsibility from the players/students to the referee/teacher (this seems to have been presented as an argument many times - "it's the players responsibility"). This is an acknowledgement however that there is SOME responsibility. The players/students are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour, but if they're in a situation where they are managed by someone else, the best way to be successful is for ALL parts to understand and accept their responsibility.

On 23/08/2021 at 10:28, David Dockhouse Host said:

Your view that refs need to control players better to stop the abuse is placing responsibility on the wrong person, I consider his victim blaming and whilst you and others place sole responsibility for 'boiling over' at the ref, nothing I could say would change that. Again using a tired old metaphor, a lady in a short skirt walks past a building site and gets wolf whistled at, do we educate the lady to wear different clothes? If she walked a different way, or wore different clothes she wouldn't be whistled at eh? Not a great way to make a point I know but the only one I can think of at the moment 😕.

Again, I feel this is too "black and white" an approach. It doesn't have to be one or the other. There is responsibility both ways, more for one than the other, but that doesn't mean there is none. Of course a referee should look at his ability to behaviour manage: it will make his job FAR EASIER if he gets it right. Expecting the players to get it right all the time is fantasy, and would actually put the referee out of a job!

There is absolutely no excuse for abuse, that doesn't mean you shouldn't find ways to protect yourself.

On 23/08/2021 at 10:28, David Dockhouse Host said:

You cannot blame the ref for the abuse they get, even if they have a poor game they should not be abused. Some horrendous abuse of young refs in the community game, all justified by the same reasons, they failed to control the game, they made errors, they upset my players by poor calls, it's true I've seen this abuse on refs as old as 13/14 with adults not believing there's anything wrong in this abuse. It's very very sad.

Again, this is an example of not understanding the point I'm making. I'm not blaming the referee for the abuse, but I'm accepting that they can handle it better. That isn't blame, that's understanding that you have a role in any part of communication and what you do can and does influence the other. In an ideal world, it wouldn't and everyone would just get along.

Good communicators de-escalate situations. Poor ones escalate them. It's ultimately others responsibility, but referees should aim to be the first and not just "apply the rules."

At the end of the day, we are selling a product on the field. Everyone is responsible for that product.

On 23/08/2021 at 10:28, David Dockhouse Host said:

Refs will always always make errors, therefore by this way of thinking, players are always justified in losing their cool without responsibility, because the ref made errors that led to them being frustrated. Also very worth noting that players and fans get decisions wrong at times, they lose their cool as they believe they were hard done to, only to realise after the ref was correct, who takes responsibility then?

Players are not justified in losing their cool at all. Ever. Nor fans. If they do, they are punished, regardless of the influence of others, be that another player, the referee, the spectators.

Again, this seems to be a "one or the other" type of argument.

Referees do make mistakes. Good referees communicate their decisions effectively with captains and this helps de-escalate. Poor referees refuse to talk or send players away immediately without wanting to listen, can be rather stubborn about certain situations and rile things up. One way makes a game more likely to be played in a good light, the other likely leads to further incidents.

This sort thing should and does matter.

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47 minutes ago, Wellsy4HullFC said:

Apologies for the late reply. 

I think the classroom comparison of a good one (having been a referee and currently a teacher, I can see the similarities in both very well). Referees' roles are not solely to apply the laws of the game: part of their role is to also help create an environment where the rules are more likely to be applied (behaviour management, you could say). Things like speaking to the players (and how they speak to players), calming things down, explaining decisions, warning captains, being consistent with their application of the rules, etc. are all part of this role. If referees simply apply the rules of the game and blow up for every technical offence, the match environment becomes an incredibly frustrating place and the spectacle awful. Too much goes on in rugby league to have that approach towards officiating. 

The teaching comparison comes as one of the many hats of a teacher is the application of the school's rules (just like a referee): applying them consistently, using common sense, communicating with students, where and when to discipline, etc. Inexperienced teachers struggle massively with behaviour management as they haven't the strategies to deal with it effectively. The worst ones are those that come in with the "do as I say" or "follow the rules or else" attitude - their use of tone and language is poor, they don't communicate effectively and they simply frustrate people, creating an environment where it is more likely the rules will actually be broken than followed.

This is NOT an absolution of responsibility from the players/students to the referee/teacher (this seems to have been presented as an argument many times - "it's the players responsibility"). This is an acknowledgement however that there is SOME responsibility. The players/students are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour, but if they're in a situation where they are managed by someone else, the best way to be successful is for ALL parts to understand and accept their responsibility.

Again, I feel this is too "black and white" an approach. It doesn't have to be one or the other. There is responsibility both ways, more for one than the other, but that doesn't mean there is none. Of course a referee should look at his ability to behaviour manage: it will make his job FAR EASIER if he gets it right. Expecting the players to get it right all the time is fantasy, and would actually put the referee out of a job!

There is absolutely no excuse for abuse, that doesn't mean you shouldn't find ways to protect yourself.

Again, this is an example of not understanding the point I'm making. I'm not blaming the referee for the abuse, but I'm accepting that they can handle it better. That isn't blame, that's understanding that you have a role in any part of communication and what you do can and does influence the other. In an ideal world, it wouldn't and everyone would just get along.

Good communicators de-escalate situations. Poor ones escalate them. It's ultimately others responsibility, but referees should aim to be the first and not just "apply the rules."

At the end of the day, we are selling a product on the field. Everyone is responsible for that product.

Players are not justified in losing their cool at all. Ever. Nor fans. If they do, they are punished, regardless of the influence of others, be that another player, the referee, the spectators.

Again, this seems to be a "one or the other" type of argument.

Referees do make mistakes. Good referees communicate their decisions effectively with captains and this helps de-escalate. Poor referees refuse to talk or send players away immediately without wanting to listen, can be rather stubborn about certain situations and rile things up. One way makes a game more likely to be played in a good light, the other likely leads to further incidents.

This sort thing should and does matter.

Again a very good in depth and well thought out post Wellsy, you make your case very well, I'm still not in agreement entirely but I do take your points. 

I think we agree more than it may appear, it's just that you appear to place a greater emphasis on one side than I do. I realise modern rugby does include some management of players and probably more so the situation but the balance of responsibility in my view is currently wrong.

The default position when players lose their cool or the game becomes stop start is that the 'ref failed to control players/match', therefore placing responsibility at the ref. Where I believe the default position should be the players/teams/tactics are initially responsible. Then through considered review any mistakes the ref makes can be discussed in a constructive environment in a way we all like to be supported at work.

This is I believe where we differ, I believe your placing too much emphasis on the teacher role for the ref. I'm also a qualified FE teacher and still work in education, I've also been a player and a coach but only completed the online ref training, not sure I could handle the negativity 😁 so I hope my views are based on experiences rather than just observations. 

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9 hours ago, LeeF said:

It was one of the first things I was recommended to do when I first started refereeing over 20 years ago. “Talk to the players to keep the game flowing” and that way you avoided having to give penalties. What you see and hear now is no different to what was happening all those years ago

There is far more detail from the ref now since the wrestle came in, continually calling out when to move at every tackle. When I played this never happened, the odd word from a ref very occasionally maybe but nothing like today. Of course this is my experience and others may see it differently but I've seen many posts complaining about the amount of instruction from the ref and friends who also played say the same.

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22 minutes ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

There is far more detail from the ref now since the wrestle came in, continually calling out when to move at every tackle. When I played this never happened, the odd word from a ref very occasionally maybe but nothing like today. Of course this is my experience and others may see it differently but I've seen many posts complaining about the amount of instruction from the ref and friends who also played say the same.

There isn’t more talk in the pro game than c20 years ago but now the ref is miked up on all TV matches.

I’ve been to a few NCL matches this season & you get the same level of talk from refs at that level as you do on a Friday night on TV and I can assure you that they are no different to the late 1990s and early 2000s

If the referees didn’t say anything or even reduced the talk the first people to complain would be the players & then the coaches very quickly afterwards. 

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3 minutes ago, LeeF said:

There isn’t more talk in the pro game than c20 years ago but now the ref is miked up on all TV matches.

I’ve been to a few NCL matches this season & you get the same level of talk from refs at that level as you do on a Friday night on TV and I can assure you that they are no different to the late 1990s and early 2000s

If the referees didn’t say anything or even reduced the talk the first people to complain would be the players & then the coaches very quickly afterwards. 

I accept they talk to players now.

I've said and maintain that I believe there is much more talk now than the 80s/90s when I played. Significantly more, such as 'hold', 'release' and 'surrender',  those weren't even words used in RL with the possible exception of the latter, being a pen if it was used.  

If you watch a video from the mid 80s the ref will not be calling these words out at every ruck.

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2 minutes ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

I accept they talk to players now.

I've said and maintain that I believe there is much more talk now than the 80s/90s when I played. Significantly more, such as 'hold', 'release' and 'surrender',  those weren't even words used in RL with the possible exception of the latter, being a pen if it was used.  

If you watch a video from the mid 80s the ref will not be calling these words out at every ruck.

They definitely were in the late 90s which is the point I made. This chat has been around for over 20 years. It’s nothing new and to be honest it is good “game management”. I used those 3 words refereeing in open age matches

The game is completely different now from the early 90s and definitely the 80s

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2 minutes ago, LeeF said:

They definitely were in the late 90s which is the point I made. This chat has been around for over 20 years. It’s nothing new and to be honest it is good “game management”. I used those 3 words refereeing in open age matches

The game is completely different now from the early 90s and definitely the 80s

I fully agree the game is very different. My point was that there's much more talk now than when I played in the 80s early 90s.

You were comparing with a much more recent time, so we may both be right 😁👍

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Just now, David Dockhouse Host said:

I fully agree the game is very different. My point was that there's much more talk now than when I played in the 80s early 90s.

You were comparing with a much more recent time, so we may both be right 😁👍

A much more recent time 😀. I started refereeing before I had children and my youngest is now 19 😀😀. That’s a looong time ago

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