The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Integrity and Other Musings

Match Officials

Before launching into the following criticism of referees, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s often a thankless task. Without match officials there would be no game. They should be respected and, in the case of young referees in local leagues, protected.

However, the NRL places its referees above certain criticism from coaches and players. There can be no question of a whistle blower’s integrity. But these people have chosen to be professionals. They have one of the most important jobs in the game and, as well-paid professionals, shouldn’t be above questioning

And the word integrity is very important to the NRL. We have an Integrity unit. Its job is to protect the game. It defines acceptable standards for key participants in the NRL. You expect that the standards of an organisation will be maintained consistently.

Well what does the word Integrity mean?

It means: honesty, decency, fairness, truthfulness and trustworthiness.

Let’s consider the meaning from a standards perspective. Following Thursday night’s game, and a number of the games every weekend, I believe some questions demand answers.

* Trustworthiness: How many of us don’t trust that the match officials will come up with the correct decision? Why do we feel that way? Is it due to a lack of consistency?

* Fairness: Do we believe that both teams are adjudicated in the same way in each match? How many times do we see a complete change in penalty fortunes after half time?

* Honesty: Are teams being officiated for their actual play in matches or are referees going into matches with pre-conceived ideas via tip sheets?

* Decency: Is it appropriate to be disadvantaging some teams for ten minutes for the most innocuous infringements? Without excusing teams pushing the boundaries of rules, nearly every match seems to feature the Sin Bin and there is always debate surrounding its application.

* Truthfulness: Are officials being true to the rules for all teams, or are we witnessing inconsistencies in decisions – between rounds, within a single match?

Based on the breakdown of the meaning of integrity, I honestly believe that there is a question mark on the integrity of officiating. This is not an accusation of corruption or bias (let me be clear on that) but a question of standards.

Decent, hardworking fans are being treated as blind fools and it is just not fair. Coaches are punished for expressing opinions that many fans share. The reaction of my workmates who support many different teams before last Thursday’s game typifies the feelings of those I know who love the game.

“Watch out Shelley, you’ve got Klein!” And so, we were “Kleined”. Simply put, his officiating often leaves supporters scratching their heads after matches.

It will be another team of supporters next week, and the week after that.

This is not meant to be an individualised or targeted attack on Ashley Klein. Rather, the focus on Ashley Klein’s standards as a referee take on increasing importance with his appointment to the Jewel game in the NRL crown – Origin.

The NRL’s refuse to even contemplate a problem with the referees and now notably rate a  referee who seems to make a bagful of questionable calls on a weekly basis as worthy of Origin footy. This simply means the problems, mistakes and inconsistencies will continue. Ultimately, supporters such as myself will continue to question the integrity of match officials when we should be acknowledging what is undoubtedly a tough gig.

Rugby League is a great game. It can be better.

Parramatta

On my team, I think we, including the players and coaches, all need a big hug. I know the boys are trying, I know they are hurting, I know they have lost confidence and I know they care. But ….. there are some things I did not like one bit against the Broncos but no negatives from me on my team. It will not help, in fact it will do the opposite. I will leave it to the coaches, management and players to fix. I trust they will.

So what did I like?

* Team spirit:
At 12-0 I doubted it. I feared a trouncing. The willingness to hang in and try to get back into the game gives me hope. Hope that when this season from hell is over we will be battered, bruised, hurt and wounded but not defeated.

* Leadership- Manu Mau:

Manu Ma’u

I listened all week about who was going to take control of this team. Who it was being anointed too. Control can be given to anyone but it can only be taken and used by those with some intestinal fortitude. Manu Mau is the type of person I want in the trenches next to me. No greater praise I can give than that.

* Resilience- I have zero integrity if I don’t write this. He disappointed me immensely against the Warriors but Corey Norman made some good choices during the week. He deserves much credit for it. Many players would sulk and have sulked in similar positions. He turned up, played a position he openly does not like and tried really hard. Unfortunately, we only looked like scoring when he ran an attacking move so this was nothing to celebrate for me. Last Thursday, Corey showed why in fact I really enjoy watching him play. Talent like that is very hard to replace.

I know two things about Rd 13.

1) My team will show up and try their guts out.
2) My family and I will be there supporting them. We know no other way.

Shelley

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Sadly Shelley, despite your articulate delivery through this blog, I have to whole heartedly disagree with how you have referenced Corey Norman’s performance last week, he unfortunately is an erratic individual rugby league player that has a lot of individual talent when he has his footy head on, unfortunately for us as dedicated eels supporters his footy head is on very seldom. As for not sulking, he has been doing plenty of that since Jarryd Hayne returned (potentially correct in his thoughts, Jarryd should not have been an Eel in 2018). Shelley, I rarely disagree with the message you deliver,… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Understand your view and not talking at all about what is happening away from the field. The reality is I know little about that and simply commenting on what I see on the field. Simply commenting on the game. I was not sure what he was going to do or rather not do. I was really disappointed when I watched the Warriors game, he almost looked like he was sulking that game but last week he got more involved. Understand the views as like many I am a very annoyed at a few repeatedly bringing down all our players. If… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, I agree. Anon. I tend to think Corey seemed to be better than he has been for a while but, for me it was one game, and begs the question if he had played a 10/10 game and we still lost, what affect did he have in our position on the ladder? I am not blaming him in isolation either, but in some ways while I agreed with Shelleys comments on Ma’u I also ask where was he early in the piece? as he has come good in a couple of successive matches its worth giving him some credit.… Read more »

Roy fisher
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Roy fisher

Said it before say it again ,corey is a cancer affecting the whole team and an uncommited footballer , get rid of him

MAX
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MAX

Shelley my initial response to you regarding Corey Norman, was purely game based as I had not yet heard of the most recent incident. A talented man, that I think is genuinely not enjoying his role at the Eels.

MAX

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley. As per usual a wonderful post indeed. I have come in late with answering as its been a long day out. But I come back to view 136 emails, with 115 dealing with a blog from the other site, and I feel absolutely tired after going through them all, & blowed if I wanted to answer any except a couple of them but couldn’t be bothered. As for Mr Klink, I cannot come to write let alone say his name in any form whether he is officiating an eels match of some other, I wonder who his hand take… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Klein really confuses me. I always believed that if you continually make dumb basic errors at work you get demoted. With Klein it seems to be the opposite. The more mistakes he makes the more big games he gets either on the field or in the bunker. All I know is if I was running the NRL he would be the last person, or equal last with Mr Perenara that I would put on such a big game like Origin. Disaster waiting to happen.

Tad
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Tad

Hi Shelley Good post I have to agree with the absolute sillyness of sin bins for often very minor infringements and then seeing tries very regularly scored off forward passes in some games and then other borderline passes ignored in many other games. You have to wonder what linesman are there for. Inconsistencies are doing a lot of damage to the games credibility. It will be interesting to see how many penalties will be given in SOO Usually penalties are kept to a minimum. Will be interesting to see if a sin binning for a minor infringement will happen in… Read more »

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

This is a big call to make but integrity can’t be measured objectively, as such, those involved in the game (be they fans, players, coaches or administrators) can’t be the judges. However whilst ever there is outside influence the potential for corrupt behaviour exists.
Ban the betting and you’ll remove the greatest threat to integrity in our game.

Longfin Eel
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Longfin Eel

It’s absolutely farcical that players are put under the microscope yet officiating, which has a huge impact on the game as a whole is beyond criticism of any sort. These officials are professionally paid individuals, and one would expect them to have their work reviewed, as would any worker. I certainly don’t condone open slather on negative criticism of anyone (unless it is constructive), but why can’t coaches voice their feedback on the referees (and the NRL as a whole for that matter). The fact that some coaches are frustrated into doing this and copping a big fine suggests that… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Longy, I agree with the main part of your post, & for me I cannot for the life of me see how Klunk has overtaken other refs for SOO selection, given his last couple of match howlers, maybe he gets the match out of sympathy or something. I believe that the players have a right to ask the refs why in regard to some penalties, but it must be by the captain and the Ref has to know he they are pre match, if the captain is off the field then the vice captain has that right. Any aspect of… Read more »

geEzA
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geEzA

Oh how I love the Eels, this game and this site! Compliments to all that make it a reality. It’s wonderfull, as a fan, to have a place to read thoughtful posts that invoke passion and realistic opinions with credible information and respectable critique! I have been a reader as soon as TCT became an option happily parting with my previous membership of “other” supporter platforms due to the negative and infactual vile that adorned its pages. Shelly, you write so beautifully and continue to bring to the forefront what it truely means to be a supporter of the greatest… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

Thank you. Klein on Origin is a joke. He is not one of the best referees and too often the games he referees become about him. Very dangerous move by the NRL. On Norman, I just don’t know. He has so much talent but that is no good if a bad or inconsistent attitude accompanies it. He is a favourite of mine, but I will leave it to the coaches/ management to sort out. I only see what happens on the field. Ultimately if Norman wants to stay he will make it happen, he will adjust his attitude and professionalism… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, you know my views on Klunk, thing is he should not be refereeing any RlL matches let alone SOO. What I see from the NRL with this appointment is that they are trying to back him up considering the amount of criticism that he gets from almost every clubs supporters. On thinking with Norms, I tend to think he does not have the capacity as a person to be more than a 3 year club player at a time. When he was on his first deal with the eels he showed what he is capable of, but his lack… Read more »

Ernie wanka
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Ernie wanka

Move him on with the other clown edwards and the place is nearly cleaned up