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Rugby League: Video ref set-up is a mess [Aug. 5th, 2009|12:06 pm]
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There is something fundamentally wrong about the current situation where some Super League matches have a video referee and some don't.

Justin Morgan at Hull KR has been in the forefront of calls for the screen to be available at all matches. As Justin probably knows, that is never going to happen, simply because of the expense.

Last weekend, Tony Smith came up with a different angle. The way to consistency, he says, should be to ditch the video ref entirely.

He was, of course, speaking after a game at Leeds in which his Warrington side had the rough end of a couple of decisions, notably the Richie Mathers 'scraping finger-nail' call.

His argument is that, if we are still going to have human error, we'd be better off without the process altogether and just revert to the system of the referee giving what he sees.

The trouble with this line of thinking is that it involves un-inventing, dis-inventing (what is the opposite of inventing? outventing?) something that already exists.

And just because there is no video ref it won't stop TV showing the evidence on which he would have based his decision. The risk is that the refs would be hung out to dry, with nobody to protect them from making decisions which the viewing public can see are wrong.

No, we aren't going to get rid of the video ref either. We're stuck with the imperfect set-up we've got.

I'll take my hat off to anyone who can correctly forecast the winners of the two Challenge Cup semi-finals this weekend. I can't recall a year when they have been harder to call, because all four teams are in pretty decent, if not dominant form.

That is despite it being months rather than weeks since they won their quarter-finals. This year's absurd timetable would have allowed for any or all of them to have gone right off the boil - but it doesn't happen.

For what it's worth, I'm tipping a Warrington-Huddersfield final, but it wouldn't surprise me if I was wrong on both counts.