Editorial: Ref Abuse - Why?

NRL chief, David Gallop has publicly stated that the NRL will not tolerate players or team officials verbally abusing the games referees or touch judges.

This season there seems to be a constant stream of abuse directed at the whistle blowers, none moreso than last night in the game between the Manly Sea Eagles and St George Illawarra Dragons.

Lasts nights ref, Steven Clarke was copping plenty from both sides and kept warning both sides that the consequences of the players verbal tirades would mean spells in the sin bin.

Sure enough, Dragons skipper, Shaun Timmins tries to show an errant touch judge his obvious mistake and he is having a 10 minute rest in the bin, courtesy of Mr Gallop's new ref protecting decree.

The question must obviously be asked, "What if the players are right" ?

We are watching what the NRL says is the greatest game in the world. Each week it is played by professional athletes at the pinnacle of their profession, yet we have some obvious dumbos dictating the outcome of a game week in, week out.

They are not isolated incidents, this season has seen more refs, touchies, video refs stood down or demoted to lower division play than any other. Despite Mr Gallops new laws, the standard of adjudication is slipping alarmingly and with it, so does the standard of play in the games.

We have recently had some big names in rugby league come out publicly and criticise the games officials, Chris Anderson (Aust Coach), Daniel Anderson (NZ Coach), Brad Fittler, Stacey Jones etc etc etc.

I for one certainly hope Mr Gallop is listening and the NRL are going to hold their whistleblowers accountable, instead of just opting for the "quick-fix" situation, where anyone opening their mouth gets hit with a fine.