Twins? keep control
By MITCHELL DALE
THE twin refereeing system used at last Wednesday night's International rugby league double header has been given the thumbs up by players and whistleblowers alike.
But don't expect to see it used in Group 2 matches any time soon.
Referees Rick Purton and Dave Dunn took joint control of the Fiji-Cook Islands and USA-Coast Valley matches and, aside from a few moments of confusion, the system was regarded a success.
The premise of the twin refereeing system is that two men control the match, with one marking the 10m in defence while the other keeps an eye on the ruck.
To ensure teams are not stuck with one referee for the entire match, the two men with the whistles swap from attack to defence when breaks in play occur.
However, the slow pace of the matches last week meant the system was not given a full work out.
Coast-Valley captain Craig Wallace was happy enough with how the twin referee system went, but reserved judgement on how it would work in the weekly grind of first grade football.
"It was a bit hard because there wasn't a lot of pressure on them," Wallace said.
"The game was pretty slow so they were able to swap and change and still keep up.
"It would be interesting to see how they would go in a faster match with a bit more pressure on them and the circumstances are a bit different.
"But they did quite a good job, there wasn't a lot of confusion.
"As long as there is communication between the two (referees) on the field and they look after their backyard, it makes it easy for us."
Dunn, who is president of the Group 2 Referees Association, believes the system has merit, especially to educate new referees.
"I would like to see it utilised at Group 2 level if possible, but we need consistency with the refereeing," Dunn said.
"One very good aspect is that it would be a good coaching tool to train new referees on the field.
"It has its merits and downfalls and we need to listen to experienced campaigners like Craig (Wallace) because the game isn't about the refs, it's about the players.
"It needs a bit of fine-tuning but I think it works well, it gives the referees a 360 degree view of an incident.
Purton, the Group's premier referee with four grand finals under his belt, felt the system worked well.
"It gives you another close contact on the field," he said.
"We are 20m or less apart and having another pair of eyes out there helps to pick things up.
"There were a couple of incidents out there in both matches that I was able to pick up that one referee (on their own) would have missed.
"I just tried to be on the other side of the field to Dave, if he was on the left I would try to be on the right."