Off the Wall

I have no problem with Bill Harrigan looking at the technology being used by officials at the Australian Open.

He could have done no harm looking at the technology the umpires used in the Big Bash match at the MCG the other night as well.

But I will have a problem, and I suspect most fans will have a problem, if  we have more resorting to technology that has the impact of slowing down the game.

You cannot really compare rugby league with cricket, or tennis, when it comes to the impact of technology.

Even "Big Bash" cricket, the especially developed fast form of the game is played over a 3 hour period.

A NRL rugby league match should last between 85 and 90 minutes if the referee claims down on unnecessary delays.

That includes injury and video referee review time.

In recent years, thanks to more and more referrals, games very often stretch out close to 100 minutes.

If anything, the time span needs to be reigned in - and expanded even further.

The NRL has set up an expert committee, largely comprising former players and coaches, to review a range of issues, including a number of rules.

That is fine. We need officials to keep up to speed on new ways of injuring players, and gaining an unfair advantage.

But there must be the exercise of maximum caution when it comes to the use of technology.

We already use it more than most sports - we need to be caution about using it more.

We don't need a situation in which referees are like their tough judges - wood ducks.

Rugby league is a fast flowing game - that is its enduring strength.

A generation ago the games administrators wisely did away with "contested scrums" because they were slowing down the game. Earlier tackle limits were introduced.

We have a great game. Unlike cricket, and tennis, our television viewing numbers are strong. Crowd numbers could be better...they they are not going backwards.

The Big Bash is proving an enormous ratings winner for cricket.

Rugby league does not need a similar concept - at least not yet.

What rugby league needs is a good administration, and a balanced use of the rules, including video referee referrals and so on, to ensure officials generally get decisions right AND the game continues to draw on its greatest strength - the entertainign way it is generally played!

The expert committee is looking at issues that need to be looked at - such as golden point extra time in finals and so on.

That is fine - but let's leave as much of the game as possible just how it is!

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