Shrug of shoulders is answer for refs

AS WAS probably the case with 90% of viewers, I had no idea whether Andrew McCullough scored for the Broncos in the final minute of last Sunday's clash in Auckland.

And if I'm reading body language even reasonably well, referee Matt Cecchin had no idea either.

Getting the football to a point where the officials had to rule on whether it was a try was a dog's breakfast.

The only certainty was that Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei batted back a shallow line drop out - after that only a forensic scientist could decipher the carnage.

Bodies fell and arms and legs flayed around the rolling ball before McCullough claimed a try.

And that is when the farce kicked in.

For some absurd reason referees have to advise those in the video centre whether they believe a try has been scored.

On this occasion Cecchin signalled try, but in the ensuing few seconds his body language sent mixed messages.

He nodded, shook his head and then shrugged his shoulders.

He may have been having a 'mannerisms' conversation through his earpiece, or he may have a nervous disorder, but he never appeared confident.

Thankfully the final decision had no bearing on the result because the Broncos were leading 18-16 and the final bell was mere seconds away. But I shudder to think of the outcry had the Warriors been leading 18-16.

That referees are asked to give an opinion in these instances is nonsensical, because if they indicate a try has been scored, the video referees have to find clear evidence to overrule them.

If a referee has no idea - as was surely the case with the McCullough try - then he should be free to say so.

Then the video referees, who have the technology and the time at their disposal, can at least make a decision without encumbrance.

I have long been a stickler for allowing referees some slack because their job is the toughest in the game. And I am all for a referee making a decision.

But they should not have to make a call when they simply don't know.

That is a guess.

And having a grand final decided on a guess would be as unpalatable as flat beer.

The solution is simple.

If the referee is unsure, ask him to shrug his shoulders - just as Matt Cecchin did last Sunday.

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