Off the Wall

Another day, another headline - not about the enormous financial challenges rapidly confronting the game at every level - but about yet another cost imposition on the game that ultimately the clubs will have to fund......two on field referees during NRL matches.

The one aspect of the second referee issue that seems to have been totally overlooked is that it will cost serious dollars. There are about 200 NRL fixtures each year - and no matter how the NRL structures its referees payments system (and an increasing number are fulltime) it is going to cost more, and a lot more.

Just think how much it will cost to send a second referee to Townsville and Auckland thirteen or fourteen times in the coming season?

Apart from the issue of whether or not the game is going to benefit from a second referee, the focus on yet another well paid official in every NRL fixture simply proves that the games administrators have seriously lost the plot.

The ARL, and even that hapless organisation, Cricket Australia, are taking steps to minimise as much as possible the impact the economic downturn is going to have on revenue, and revenue across the board - attendances, merchandise purchases and sponsorships. And NRL clubs that depend substantially on their licensed club revenue are in for a double hit.

Last week Ken Arthurson made a public appeal to the ARL/NRL to use some of the profits from the World Cup to save the game in the bush. The response - tough luck, we don