NRL set for Bunker changes

The way in which the NRL ‘Bunker’ operates in 2017 has been altered from last year, it has been confirmed.

The Bunker will now rule only on point-scoring plays, in-goal restarts and reportable foul play only in the season ahead.

The video review system will no longer rule on knock-ons in general play or 40-20s.

NRL head of football Brian Canavan feels that the Bunker has moved TV coverage forward and has been a positive step for rugby league in Australia.

“That said, we will continuously review the performance of the Bunker to ensure we keep improving,” he told NRL.com.

“The review at the conclusion of the first season of the technology has led us to make some changes to the scope and operations of the system.

“As we all become more accustomed to the incredible technology that we have at our disposal, we will always look to refine the system to ensure that the Bunker serves the fans, the Clubs and players in the best way possible.

“Prior to the 2016 season, we set out to deliver improved accuracy, efficiency, consistency and transparency from a video review perspective and we did so.

“We are extremely confident that we will deliver on those key pillars again.”

The changes will be in place for the NRL All Stars match this Friday in Newcastle.

NRL Coaches, the Competition Committee, technical partners, broadcasters and fans, as well as former head coach Ivan Cleary, were consulted as part of the improvement process.

NRL general manager officiating Tony Archer feels that last year’s inaugural campaign for the Bunker went well, but did show that the system required some tweaking.

“A review of the Bunker after the first year identified that the most appropriate areas our reviewers should be involved in are point-scoring plays, in-goal restarts and reportable foul play,” he said.

“In all other aspects of officiating, the on-field officials will make the call.

“The average video referral decision time was 64 seconds in 2016, and that figure was 55 seconds in the 2016 Finals Series.

“Five errors out of 709 video referee referrals were recorded in 2016, which is a significant improvement on 2015.

“It is also worth noting that in 2015 we may not have even known if there was an error in all cases because we didn’t have the technology.

“Clearly we will always target zero errors but there will always be a human element to our decision-making.

“We also intend to refine our communication process to ensure fans have an almost instantaneous explanation of key decisions and evidence via social media.”

The video review teams will also consis of sllightly different people in 2017. The senior review official will be aided by one review official and a Hawkeye technician.

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