Hunslet chairman backs Hudgell after conversion controversy

Hunslet chairman Neil Hampshire has backed comments made by Hull KR counterpart Neil Hudgell after the Hawks were involved in their own controversy at the weekend.

While Rovers’ defeat to city rivals Hull caught the headlines due to a gaffe by video referee Steve Ganson, which saw the match-winning try awarded to an offside Chris Green, the Hawks were licking their wounds from a 24-18 defeat against Batley on Thursday night.

During that game, two conversions were awarded to the Bulldogs that should not have been given, a conclusion which has now been confirmed by an RFL review of the incident.

Hampshire said: “Neil’s exactly right in that “sorry” just doesn’t go far enough. It is a big step forward but it doesn’t improve the points column come the business end of the season. Those two conversions on Thursday night meant we went into the last quarter chasing the game rather than protecting a lead which changes the whole dynamics. The game was also on TV so it’s disappointing that the video ref couldn’t be involved and maybe that’s something to look at for the future.

“This is now the third time we have referred calls against us for review this season and we have had acknowledgement that all of them should have gone our way. It is hugely frustrating for us as we try to move the club forward.

“I also agree with Neil Hudgell that this is not about criticising referees.

“Far from it, without them we wouldn’t have a game and generally they do an excellent job in a very challenging environment. But we need to be smarter about highlighting and recognising the support and coaching needs of individuals from time to time in order to maintain the high standards of officiating required in such a fast moving high contact sport. 

“Perhaps we also need to consider new innovations such as the dual referee approach used in Australia or allowing the match officials to utilise the 4th official in a consultancy capacity to help get the decisions right.”

Hudgell issued a strong worded statement on Sunday following Saturday’s controversy at the Magic Weekend, where he criticised the RFL’s respect for referees policy.

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