NRL CEO Todd Greenberg defends the Bunker.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg defends the Bunker.

Johns grills NRL boss in bold Bunker debate

NRL boss Todd Greenberg has defended the game's video review technology in a bold debate on the confidence of referees and the validity of the Bunker.

Speaking on radio station Triple M on Tuesday morning, Greenberg expressed his frustration over incorrect decisions made over the weekend, but when asked by host Matty Johns if the technology will be scrapped in a bid to boost confidence of referees, the idea was swiftly shut down.

"That's not going to happen Matty, and can I tell you why? Because the weekend had nothing to do with the Bunker, it had everything to do with human error," Greenberg said.

Johns then fired back, suggesting despite the multimillion-dollar technology, decision-making among referees is at its lowest standard, along with the confidence of the whistleblowers.

"I wouldn't agree with that," Greenberg replied.

"In fact I can tell you that we're getting more decisions right now than we ever have.

"Three years ago when we were doing video technology from standing at the back of Brookvale Oval, we were making a hell of a lot more errors on key decisions like tries than we are today.

"That's not to say we're perfect now, we're making errors. On the weekend we made some terrible errors and we have to get better than that."

Matty Johns had some tough questions for Todd Greenberg.
Matty Johns had some tough questions for Todd Greenberg.

Greenberg explained that even if the Bunker were to be scrapped, NRL host partners Fox Sports and Channel 9 would show replays of tries or incorrect decisions, prompting the technology to be used to make accurate calls.

The calls for change comes after the officiating in Cronulla's 28-24 win over Canberra on Friday night was put in the spotlight.

The Sharks crossed the line after Raiders players stopped defending because a touch judge put his flag up and the referee put his whistle in his mouth, preparing to blow a stop to the game. But The Bunker awarded the try, much to everyone's disbelief.

Then later, BJ Leilua's cut-out pass was called forward despite being flat at worst, costing the Green Machine an opportunity to win the game.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was sympathetic towards the officials on the ground and instead took aim at the system that controls them and blamed "too many voices" for clouding their judgment, while he also said The Bunker is a "waste of time".

Referee Gerard Sutton could face the axe with Tuesday’s appointments. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Referee Gerard Sutton could face the axe with Tuesday’s appointments. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

That came after last weekend's debacle when The Bunker awarded Roosters debutant Sean O'Sullivan a try despite a clear knock on.

Greenberg said heads will roll in the officiating ranks this weekend, with those involved in the Canberra nightmare expected to be demoted.

"Rugby league is different to other sports pleasingly because one in three games this year will be decided by less than a try, so every decision matters," he said.

"And when people like Ricky [Stuart, Raiders coach] on the weekend get a poor call, what happens is it brings people's livelihoods into question, their careers, their contracts and we understand that so we have to get better."

Although Greenberg is firm on the future of the Bunker, he said the NRL are looking at ways to reduce the usage of the technology by supporting the referees to make correct decisions.

He said it's a balance they are constantly trying to strike.

"How do we make sure that we use technology to make sure that we don't make errors, but at the same time keep the flow and continuity in the game and don't get that stop/start nature that sometimes we see. And that's exactly the right question and that's the question we're currently asking."

Greenberg also said he sees merit in a 'captain's challenge', but revealed that when it was put to the coaches and competition committee, the idea was squashed.

 

 

 

 

This is despite Newcastle coach Nathan Brown suggesting it should be re-trialled in their clash with North Queensland on Friday night.

"I will remind Nathan that we used the captain's challenge a season and a half ago, we trialled it in some games at the end of the year, we took it to the coaches and we took it to the competition committee and I think the quote that I was given at the last coaches' meeting was 'Todd, why is this on the agenda, get it off, it's not something we want to look at'," he said.

"At the end of the year if we want to look at it again we will, but people want accuracy and they want to make sure we get the decisions right.

"With the captain's call, I understand why we did look at it, but when we did look at it, one of the key call outs was that we were getting decisions wrong.

"There were things in there we weren't checking and there were errors being made, and ultimately the provision of technology is to remove errors."

FOX LEAGUE has partnered with the NRL and clubs to give rugby league fans the chance to attend NRL games at reduced prices this weekend. Fans can redeem the offer by logging on to nrl.com/tickets and entering the code word 'retro' from midnight Monday July 23 to midnight Tuesday July 24 for Sydney and Melbourne games, and midnight Wednesday July 25 for Queensland games.