Off the Wall

I unashamedly admit to a bias when it comes to video referees - a bias against their excessive influence in the game.

But even the most unbiased observer would surely have been appalled at yesterday's decision by the referee Phil Haines to send off Sharks prop, Luke Douglas, a decision he clearly made on the "advice" of video referee Phil Cooley.

We should be appalled, but not surprised. Cooley was a very ordinary conveyance as a referee, and be has become even more ordinary as a video referee. But he seems to be in the "protected species" class as he continues to be called on to adjudicate in major NRL fixtures.

But, surely, even he will have to pay for yesterday's inexcusable blunder? Or will he?

An ever greater injustice will happen if the Sharks coach, Ricky Stuart, or captain, Luke Covell, are fined for their post-match comments.

The incident which led to Douglas being summarily dismissed from the field would rate at the lower end of the scale. Sure the tackle was high, but we see high tackles any number of times in every match in the premiership, and they attract a penalty with a warning, or are placed on report.

In eras past send off