THE captain’s challenge was a rule introduced by the NRL ahead of the 2020 season.
In doing so, the rule was designed to take some pressure away from referees and onto captains of a team if they strongly disagreed with a decision. That has, in turn, led to the overturning of refereeing decisions that would otherwise have been contentious.
If introduced in Super League, it would help officials no end with captains having to rely on the honesty of teammates to decide whether to challenge a ruling.
Of course, if they don’t challenge it, it means that the official’s original decision is correct – everyone wins. If a challenge is used unsuccessfully, however, teams will lose their right to challenge for the rest of the game, introducing jeopardy to the ruling.
One issue with introducing a captain’s challenge is the fact that there aren’t video referees at every Super League game, meaning that some teams would get the benefit of a challenge whilst others wouldn’t.
In that respect, a video referee at every Super League fixture is something which the sport needs to look at whilst some critics have called for the scrapping of the video official altogether.
For former Super League referee Ian Smith, however, he previously spoke about the need for a video referee at every game, but considered the cost of the captain’s challenge.
“We definitely shouldn’t scrap it,” Smith told League Express. “I think the video referee adds so much to the game. Also we can’t bring in captains challenge without a video referee at every game
“Hopefully there will be video referees at all games in the not too distant future but who knows when.
“Secondly though, it is a very expensive project and one I don’t think the RFL can afford to fund without direct and ring-fenced sponsorship.
“Lastly, even if they do get the funding to have a video referee at every game they will need to recruit and train more of them as it’s not as easy as people think and the current squad of match officials already double up every week doing different roles on match days as referees, video officials, reserve referees and touch judges.”
With that in mind, a captain’s challenge ruling would be an expensive project, but is it one that is necessary to invest in?