Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Friday Night Football saw the Video Referee make two big calls in two big games. One was right; the other left a lot to be desired.
With the Raiders ahead by 8 points and only a handful of minutes left, the correct ruling was made that New Zealand's Stacey Jones had passed off the ground - early in a movement that led to Henry Fa'afili getting across the line. Jones had been pulled to the ground by Ryan O'Hara and Luke Davico clearly had laid hands on the halfback while still on the ground after being tackled. Thus upon review, a penalty was given and Fa'afili was denied a touchdown. A touchdown that remarkably under the current rules may have been ruled a try. The Double Movement remains a very gray area in the laws of the game. Why don't we just let players promote the ball if they can reach the line? Surely as a defender the onus is on them to wrap the ball up as well as halt player momentum near the line. But if the attacking player has done enough to get within reaching distance of the line - why shouldn't he be able to reach out before the referee calls held? In a mid-field tackle time and time again we see players allowed to crawl forward for those extra metres, yet it goes un-penalised. It is a question that needs answering.
A second and far more contentious decision occurred when the Video Ref for the Bulldogs Brisbane game decided that Michael De Vere was 'accidentally' pulled down while diving for a grubber kick over the line. To the 25,000 at the ground and the viewers at home it was clearly a professional foul, thus a penalty try. Alas our great game was made to look rather mediocre when the No Try 20m Restart decision came up.
Again, we see a blatant example of the ?gray area? invading the decision making process. In 1999 it took Craig Smith?s head almost being snapped off to allow a Penalty Try. And earlier this year Jason Stevens had the ball stripped while over the line. If they are the extremes then where does the De Vere no try lay?
The game deserves better than this.