Referees getting brunt of Easter outbursts

It is common at this time of year from several coaches and players to moan about the congestion of the Easter period.

And while there have been some mutterings and rumblings from coaches about their turnaround in games, Justin Morgan took his rants one step too far by launching a personal attack on referee Ben Thaler, after his side’s loss against Super League surprise team, Huddersfield.

Living in Huddersfield myself, I have seen the Giants on more than one occasion, and while they are guilty of some scrappy misdemeanours in tackles and at the play-the-ball, they cannot be made scapegoats.

They have been playing some superb rugby, and fully deserve to be where they are. I think it is a case of people not liking the shift in equilibrium and seeing a club like Huddersfield doing well for themselves.

Many other clubs – in fact I would probably say all clubs have times where they deliberately interfere – are just as guilty.

Bradford, Wigan and Catalans are three sides that I have witnessed employing the tactic of slowing play down deliberately.

While Morgan states what the fans – who more than likely are incorrect in the first place due to misunderstanding of the rules – actually think at times and shout out from the terraces, it was the manner of his stance that needs reviewing.

Morgan said: “Every time we get him [Thaler] we get the raw end of the stick.If I had a player that wasn’t up to standard he gets dropped. He [Thaler] needs to spend some time learning the rules and getting in a position where he can understand the game better.”

My response to Mr Morgan would be that if Mr Thaler didn’t know the rules he wouldn’t be refereeing in Super League. Both sides are part of the game, and therefore both sides would have suffered or benefited from the same circumstances and therefore his comments don’t stand up.

Unfortunately, only one side had a grievance and it is just typical that it is the losing side.

“It is absolutely disgraceful every time we get him. He is not up to this standard at all. He needs to spend some time at another grade, just like my players would. We turned up with the right attitude but got caned by the bloke in the middle and that is not acceptable in my eyes. Next time we get him we know what to expect – a substandard performance.”

Clearly if they got caned in the middle it is down to ill discipline.

Referees do get things wrong, we all do. It is a hated saying, but we are all humans and we all make mistakes.

Morgan is a fantastic coach and has done wonders at Hull KR, so it is no surprise that he is bitterly disappointed when he loses a game. He needs to regroup and get his players together and bounce back.

Away from the negatives, and onto the positives and I have to praise Ian Smith for his decision in the Leeds v Bradford game for going to the screen for Rob Burrow’s score.

That game could have turned things around in Leeds’ favour, and he trusted his own eyes by not giving it straight away. Superb decision.

Another thing I would like to discuss is the increase in players launching themselves at kickers.

I was present at the Warrington v Castleford match on Easter Monday and the number of times Brent Sherwin was taken out when kicking was astounding.

I understand the “committed to the tackle” rule, but there were some times where Sherwin was taken out with shoulder about five seconds after the ball had gone.

From watching the other games in replays, it seems like this is becoming commonplace in sets of six, so surely it is time for the RFL to clampdown and have a look at this before it gets out of hand and the talented backs we have crop up with serious injuries?

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