The problem when it comes to referees, is spectators. No matter what they do, referee's just can't win. It's not all spectators that are the problem, but there are fans from all clubs that have the ability to be a disgrace. No matter who wins the match, groups of fans from the losing team are bound to be pointing their fingers at the man with the whistle to avoid seeing the fault lines that may appear in their own sides defence. They are too unwilling to realise that their team may have dropped the ball a dozen times when they had nothing but open field ahead of them. They are too biased to admit that their side just wasn't good enough to get the victory.
Although lacking brains and an open mind, they certainly do not lack cowardice. One fan at WIN Stadium 2 weekends ago did not even give Steve Clark the courtesy of making his way onto the field before deciding to verbally abuse him with comments about Clark's wife. The unfortunate yet true situation in Rugby League, is that this is not a one off. It happens all the time. Not necessarily before a match or as personal as the WIN Stadium incident, but at half time or leaving the field at full time, it is all but impossible for an official to leave without some sort of abuse.
While WIN Stadium case was one extremity of what happens, almost all cases have one thing in common - spectators who think that just because they watch the game, they know everything about it. How many of those abusive spectators have actually read the rules of the game? My guess would by less than 1 percent, and that's being generous. Would 1 in 100 abusive spectators really have not just read, but understood and comprehended the rules? Not likely. Possibly 1 in 1000, but even then I wouldn't be betting on it, regardless of the odds. Yet entire stadiums still have the nerves to boo referees and touch judges from the ground.
Then what do they do? Nothing but sit there and complain..
The problem has little to do with the referee in the middle, although the video refs have left referee Boss Robert Finch a bit shocked on occasions. The main problem is those lazy fans, with nowhere near the knowledge of the game that the referee's have, actually having the guts to sit there and complain. If you have not read the rulebook, comprehend the rules, and then gone and done something for the community like getting out there and referee games for the kids and also understanding just a fractions of the pressure they NRL referees go through, what right do you have to complain? As a member and fan of a Rugby League club you have every right to complain about poor performances from. However, as a fan do you really have the right to sit behind a metal fence, like a coward, and abuse and complain about a referee? No, not unless you are also a qualified member of a rugby league refereeing association.
Even when the officials put in brilliant performances, one group of fans feel compelled to complain because their side was on the wrong end of the score line for the simple reason that they are often too biased to see faults in their own teams.
Statistics can often be misleading, but they can also often tell a lot in a game of rugby league. There was a staggering average of 45 errors in games played on the weekend for each team when only counting missed tackles and dropped balls. When you also take into account the number of terrible kicks and last option plays that butchered tries, the number just grows. Yet people still insist that the referees are at fault for losses.
While I am not saying that they are faultless, if anyone can honestly say that the team of officials in any given match, made more than 45 errors in a game, that's including missing some calls due to the physical impossibility of not being able to be in 5 different places at once to see everything in a crowded area, then all I can do is laugh at their naivety. There are less of them to cover more ground, with no interchanges like the other teams have, but the are that they still have the best error rate in the NRL. Congratulations referees.
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