Video Referee ‘Bunker’ to be used in 2016

The NRL is set to overhaul the current video officiating system with a range of upgrades designed to improve the quality of officiating, after their proposal to do so was approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission on Friday.

The centre will be the first of its kind used in any Australian sport and will be located at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh, Sydney.

The bunker will have access to Hawk-Eye Innovations video review technology as well as being supported by Telstra’s Digital Video Network platform.

NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said “We have been through an exhaustive trial process because this is so important for our fans. Now that it has been approved by the Commission we will begin work on the facility so it is up and running in time for the start of the 2016 season.”

Greenberg stated that the new technology would be a game changer for the NRL, adding, “It has the potential to halve the time taken to review a decision – and deliver more accurate results.”

The NRL has drawn criticism over the current Video Referee system in recent times, most over how long it takes for a decision to be made and how in too many instances, the decision made was incorrect. The new system is designed to address those issues head on.

Greenberg went on to say that there would be improved “accuracy, efficiency, consistency as well as transparency” of all video referee decisions under this new system.

“Our video referees will be using state-of-the-art technology. We will control the vision, and the improved technology means we will be able to make informed decisions much quicker. Our video referees will have access to multiple camera angles and playback control for all reviewable decisions. Touch screen interfaces, zoom functions and split screens will further enhance the decision making process. Recent trials have shown that video referees can review decisions in an average of about 40 seconds when they have relevant angles and enhanced video review technology available at their fingertips. That’s half the current average time our video referees take to make a decision – and that will be our target next season.”