Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Heed Warning on Refs

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Heed Warning on Refs

Article excerpt

Byline: GREG WHITE

FOR a short period last Saturday morning, the trials between Macksville and Port Macquarie at Allen Gillett Oval were in limbo.

With one referee available following several last-minute drop-outs, the decision had all but been made to abandon the game.

But Maurie Lonergan was roped in and somehow they stumbled through.

Had it been a competition fixture we have no doubt there would have been no play and sad as it seems, it may have been best if that had been the case.

It's clear our clubs still do not fully comprehend how critical the referee shortage is and if they continue to ignore warnings like that issued by Appointments Board member Robert Bond in the Coffs Coast Advocate last Wednesday, then we are in deep, deep trouble.

Only the cancellation of a full round, it seems, will get most to sit up and take notice.

If they did understand how dire the crisis is, then chief administrator Jim Anderson would have a conga line of officials demanding remedies . . . but unfortunately, not a bleat out of a single one.

So the heads of the Group 2 ostriches remain buried in the sand.

Bill Gibbons has been warning of a coming storm for three years and this column for almost a decade.

Only yesterday, Gibbons advised of the directive issued by the Country Rugby League Referees Association only the most foolish of administrators will ignore.

If there is no qualified, non-insured, non-affiliated referee available, there is no game.

And if there is no qualified, non-insured, non-affiliated touch judge, the game must proceed without a touch judge.

Yes, you read that correct.

Staggering fixtures across the weekend is only a Band-aid solution when the challenge is to get more qualified match officials onto the park.

No more wringing your hands and tearing up paper hankies, folks, you must all finally get off your bums and collectively solve your problem before the kick-off in two weeks.

No more excuses, no more delay.

It's only a trial . . . but . . .

Let's hope the spectacle improves after an opening weekend where the standard of play was downright appalling.

And that's being generous compared to fellow sporting scribe Cliff Claven who let fly in the Bello paper this week where for once, he wasn't joking.

Certainly, most of the 'stars' were wrapped in cotton wool or made cameo appearances but more than a handful who paid entry fees told us unless there was drastic improvement in quality this weekend, clubs could forget about their patronage when the time comes to pay full freight.

Folks ... you have got to realise that times have changed and 'it's only a trial' doesn't cut it anymore, especially when there's a gatekeeper with the hand out for cash.

Speaking of trials

The second round of official Group 2 trials are played this weekend. …

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