NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fitter believes pressure on the NRL’s bunker to make decisions fast is inevitably leading to the odd wrong decision.
The NRL made a quickfire call of its own, dumping bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea for Sunday’s clash between Penrith and Gold Coast after a botched call on Saturday night.
The pair looked at just two replays before awarding Cronulla forward Jack Williams a try in their four-point win over St George Illawarra.
Williams almost gave himself away when he got up shaking his head, before further replays clearly showed Dragons fullback Matt Dufty grounded the ball first.
A decision was made in just 28 seconds.
It’s not the first of its kind this year.
The bunker took just two replays and 20 seconds to deny Manly a penalty in their final-minute loss to Newcastle earlier this month.
The league’s head of football Graham Annesley later admitted he believed a penalty should have been blown after a Sea Eagles player was pushed out of play.
There has been previous criticism of the bunker taking too long to make calls, with the average time when it was first brought in at just over a minute.
“I reckon, there is so much pressure on the video refs to not only get it right but to do it quickly,” Fittler said on Nine’s Footy Show.
“And it drives you mad as a viewer. I don’t know where the balance is. You might cop these every now and then and I feel sorry for (Dragons coach Paul McGregor).
“It’s a bad miss.
“But there is pressure to do it quickly and there is pressure to get it right. Every now and then you are going to get it wrong.
“Obviously he has done it too hastily.”
The demotion of Clark and Galea was the first time in memory such a call had been made mid-round following a decision.
Regardless, the axing would have been of no consolation to McGregor, who was highly critical of the bunker’s call post-game.
Having found themselves down 14 points midway through the second half, McGregor’s side also blew two late opportunities to steal the victory.
Fullback Dufty was adamant he had beaten Williams to the ball.
“The boys asked me when it went to video ref, ‘Did you get it down?’ I said, ‘100 per cent I got it down’,” he said.
“Coach told me after the game that yeah I grounded it first.
“I said I thought I did. And even after they awarded the try, I was pretty shocked, I asked for a challenge, but he said it was a video ref so it wouldn’t work.”