RUGBY LEAGUE: The NRL Bunker has agin come under fire this week after a controversial try was awarded to St George Dragons winger Nene Macdonald on Anzac Day.

While it was referred upstairs as a try, video evidence appeared to prove Macdonald lost control over the line, and since referee boss Gerard Sutton has admitted it was a wrong decision.

It is the latest in a long line of controversial calls coming out of the NRL Bunker and has prompted Moose Elkerton and special guest Robert 'Burls' Burley to go Behind the Sports Desk and answer the question: is the Bunker broken?

MOOSE: Bunker gets nine out of ten calls right

EVERY fan loves to bag a referee. It is ingrained in us.

Australians love to be anti-authority. Sticking it to the big man. Just look at our national love of Ned Kelly.

So it barely comes as a surprise that the rugby league loving public has taken aim at the NRL's multi-million dollar white elephant, The Bunker.

It might only be a jazzed-up version of the old-school video referee system, but The Bunker is integral to rugby league.

For all the glitz and glamour of the video review system, it is still merely a tool that's usage has limitations - many of which have been applied by the game's law makers.

Proverbially, The Bunker's hands are tied on a lot of decision's that have been 'sent upstairs'.

The Bunker is told to give the on-field decision benefit of the doubt. So if there is no 'easy' overturn of a decision, then it must stand.

The same goes for what the referee asks to be reviewed. The Bunker can only look at incidents that have been asked for by the referee.

While there are many traditionalists who will spruik the need to remove The Bunker altogether and return to the days of one referee.

But for all the bad decisions The Bunker makes, there are five or six it gets right.

It has also brought a new level of accountability to the NRL. On each decision, there is a voice talking us through why each call is made and for what reason.

It might not get it right all the time, but it does enough.


The NRL Bunker has come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks after a couple of howler decisions.
The NRL Bunker has come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks after a couple of howler decisions. Contributed

BURLS: Forget the duct tape, there's no fixing this mess

THE BUNKER is in a unique position to have multiple angles and replay moments from the game immediately.

The Dragons and Roosters game from Anzac Day clearly highlights, once again, that the Bunker is flawed and not in the game's best interest.

During the first half, Roosters' Luke Keary chased a Cooper Cronk grubber, only to be deliberately tripped by Dragons' Cam McInnes, obstructing Keary from possibly running on to the ball for a try.

Now, I get that the on-field officials may not have been ideally placed to see this, but the aired footage was irrefutable.

Here we have a potentially game defining moment that The Bunker saw and had the opportunity and onus to instruct the on-field referee to, at least, sin-bin McInnes for a professional foul.

In the 69th minute, Nene Macdonald dives for the corner and Cronk lands a tap on Macdonald's elbow, dislodging the ball from his control. The ball rolls slowly from grip, however remains close enough for Macdonald to apply a "half fingernail" pressure on the ball.

The on-field referee refers to the Bunker checking the grounding. From front on, the ball is clearly not in control and a knock-on is obvious, however, it could be argued that the ball did not leave Macdonald's touch.

The Bunker is unable to turn around the on-field decision, despite the obvious, claiming insufficient evidence.

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