Wilkin calls for different refereeing style in Super League

St Helens veteran Jon Wilkin has called for a different refereeing style in Super League, with games made too stop-and-start by officials in the UK and France.

Wilkin believes that in order to better match the NRL sides, Super League teams need to play an improved style, which would be helped by the manner in which officials referee games.

“One thing for me is that the NRL is refereed differently,” he said.

“The games flow, they don’t stop. Our games are punctuated all the time by refereeing decisions.

“That makes a different style of game altogether. But, on the back of that, they have the pick of athletes in their country.

“They’ve got some really smart rugby guys amongst all that. The NRL is a great competition, the World Club Series showed that.

“I think for us it’s something to aspire to – to have better athletes, to have better ‘rugby minds’ out on the field.

“And also [we need] to look at the style of our game, so it’s less influenced by officials, and more influenced by players.”

Wilkin also feels that Super League lacks players with natural game sense and rugby intelligence, with the emphasis in recent years having been placed on developing players athletically, rather than technically.

“Effort gets you so far, but then you need to be clinical at the right times,” he said.

“Selecting the right pass, the right kick, the right time to run, the right time to do whatever, is all part of what we call ‘game sense’ and ‘rugby smarts’.

“Actually, our competition has gone a long way to develop people athletically.

“I think, as a competition, we’re more athletic than we’ve ever been.

“If there’s one area of the game that Super League lacks, it’s game sense and game management – the skill of the game.

“There’s a lot of athletic guys who play the game now, but there’s far fewer guys who understand the game in the modern era.”

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