NRL to trial video referee bunker system in 2015

Last updated 17:00 27/08/2014
Referee
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GAME CHANGER: The NRL will trial a video referee bunker next season as it looks to eradicate poor officiating from the game.

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The NRL is set to trial a video referee bunker next season amid the ongoing discontent surrounding refereeing decisions.

The bunker has been on the agenda for some time but head of football Todd Greenberg announced on Wednesday the NRL aims to test what they're calling a ''central command centre'' mid-way through the 2015 season which could even deliver match review charges as well as match decisions.

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While insisting he was happy with the standard of refereeing despite the complaints this season, Greenberg admitted there was room for improvement and believed having a smaller group of video referees involved could help.

''Given the technology that's available we have to look at ways to get better,'' Greenberg said on Wednesday.

''The aim is to improve efficiency, consistency and accuracy for our match officials.

''We'll undertake a feasibility study into a central command centre, where in-game decisions can be made by a smaller number of experts.

''We think this will have a real impact on consistency because the same group of people can make calls on various games around the round.

''It's going to take some time but we're hoping by mid-way through next season we can be trialling it at the same time as our current processes are in place.''

Greenberg sent a team to the US last year to research the costly centralised review technology used in both the NFL and NHL.

While saying trials will likely proceed next season he would not speculate when it could be officially introduced.

''The command centre is something we think could be a real game-changer for rugby league. It could be the biggest thing we've done since bringing video technology in,'' said Greenberg.

''But it's a significant investment. It will take millions of dollars to make happen.

''We're going to put a detailed feasibility study in place to see if we can make it happen.''

Greenberg said one of the main advantages would be the real-time decisions, with coaches possibly informed straight after the match who of their players have been charged and with what.

''We're going to dare to dream about the possibilities of what it would look like, about putting other parts of the NRL business in football into one place,'' he said.

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''Not only reviewing decisions on the field (but) injury surveillance.

''Imagine our match review panel making decisions in real-time where a coach walks into a press conference and has a charge sheet already available to him.''

- AAP

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