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The Benefit Of The Doubt
National Rugby League (NRL) video referees have been told to give attacking teams the benefit of the doubt this weekend following a series of controversial rulings in recent matches.
NRL referees' boss Robert Finch told the video adjudicators to improve their performance after at least three decisions were disputed.
Brisbane claimed a penalty try should have been when Michael DeVere was impeded in the in-goal against the Bulldogs while Melbourne's Billy Slater was also denied a try against Parramatta.
The video referee refused to rule on a potential match-winning try for South Sydney's Bryan Fletcher, handing the decision back to referee Bill Harrigan who denied the Rabbitohs' captain.
Finch said he was not making specific judgment calls on those incidents but in his opinion "there have been some no-try decisions when tries have been scored.
"Sometimes I wonder if video referees go to the video with preconceived ideas then start looking for reasons to substantiate those views rather than looking at the replay and deciding whether it's a try or not," Finch said.
Finch reminded referees last night the "benefit of the doubt" rule had been introduced to give the attacking side the opportunity to be awarded a try when the probability existed that one was scored even if the replay was not conclusive.
However, video referees who applied the benefit of the doubt to attacking sides can also come unstuck as experienced former referee Mick Stone discovered earlier this month.
He was dropped after wrongly awarding the Bulldogs a pivotal try ? despite a blatant offside ? in their clash with the Roosters in round nine.
Finch was happy fulltime referees Bill Harrigan, Tim Mander and Steve Clark were able to also sit on the video panel but said it was unlikely many other top-flight officials could join them.
"The other referees all have jobs to go to," Finch said.
"Asking them to double up as video referees would be a bit much as they are also balancing those jobs and their families."