Captain's challenge concept re-emerges

In an era where every decision seemingly has an effect on the result of matches, there are growing calls for the NRL to introduce a captain's challenge system to ensure the officials have the best tools available to make the right call.

Five matches in Round 19 were decided by four points or less, with coaches and players on the losing side able to pinpoint calls that could have swung the result in their favour.

Perhaps the most controversial ruling of the weekend came on Saturday when the Warriors had a late try to Gerard Beale disallowed after the referees ruled a pass from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck went forward.

It was a telling moment as the visitors went down to Parramatta 24-22, and drew an impassioned plea from coach Stephen Kearney to look at the forward pass rule, as well as the new stripping interpretation after five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita was incorrectly penalised.

One way to eliminate errors would be the return of the captain’s challenge, which was used in the Holden Cup, and also trialled in 2016 when the Knights and Dragons clashed in a game that had no bearing on the finals.

"I reckon it'd be good to have a challenge in place so we can have a look at moments like that," Warriors winger Ken Maumalo told Big League when asked about the contentious call.

"The game is so fast so the refs can’t keep up at times. A challenge would help them go back and check key plays. The game is so fast, so you've got to have fast eyes to keep up with the play.

"That's something the refs have to look at. I just feel sorry for the boys – we put so much effort into that game and a call like that is deflating. In saying that, we can’t control what the refs do. That was the final call and it was disappointing that it didn’t go our way.

“I felt it worked in the 20s. We had some games where we’d have calls go against us but then we’d go upstairs, they reviewed it and the call was overturned. I really like that, and speaking from a player’s perspective, I think it’s something that should be looked at.”

The system would see teams afforded one incorrect challenge per half, but there would be no limit on how many times a captain can contest a ruling if he continues to be proven right on decisions the Bunker wouldn’t ordinarily review. 

 

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