Blunt pencil

I CAN hear the rumblings on the NRRRL referee’s grapevine now.

“What’s this bloke on about?”

“Has he got any idea how difficult it is to referee?”

The answer is yes, but I’m sorry what I saw on Saturday night at Frank McGuren Field was simply unacceptable.

Here we have the match of the round between the Ghosts and Cudgen which, by the way, went down to the wire, and we are dished up an official who struggled to keep up with the ice melting in the beer canteen.

From all reports NRRRL games have been spread out over the weekend with the desired effect to have the best referees at the top games of each round.

Did I miss something?

The Ghosts-v-Cudgen game deserved top billing on the weekend, but unfortunately for all involved they witnessed a sub-par standard of refereeing.

Unfortunately coaches have their hands tied behind their backs when it comes to commenting on those men in the middle. I’m sure both coaches involved with Saturday night’s debacle would love to have their say on the performance of the referee.

Players and coaches are accountable for their actions so why not referees?

But to their credit they maintained their silence in a bid to not upset the apple cart and be reprimanded for – heaven forbid – telling the truth.

We all know referees in any sport are a must. And we should be grateful there are people out there who take on such a thankless job

But in saying that, these guys get paid to perform and I’m sorry Peter “Pencil” O’Connor’s inability to keep up with play was there for all to see.

So why wasn’t a younger, fitter referee in charge of the match of the round?

It worries me to see a first grade referee stand on the receiving team’s 10-metre line on the kick-off in an obvious ploy to gain a head start.

My question is if referees are cracking down on players in front of the kick-off, how is this possible when taking up position on the receiving team’s half?

The game in question could have gone either way. In fact the Ghosts were handed a gift when Cudgen front-rower Dan Donavan was sent off for the rest of the match. Donavan merely gave Ghosts back-rower Aaron Hartmann a push in the face which probably deserved a penalty at best.

Hartmann’s milking of the penalty was nothing short of a wonderful piece of role acting. Similar to what we see in World Cup soccer.

The man in the middle couldn’t get the whistle to his mouth quick enough and without referring to his touch judges hastily sent the burly Hornets prop for an early shower.

A pivotal moment in a tightly-fought contest.

There are plenty of good referees on offer in the NRRRL who are more than capable of keeping up with play.

Maybe the referees officiating both lower grades on Saturday night would have been a better option. The game deserves it.

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