One of the last things Bill Harrigan said as co-boss of the NRL referees was that the benefit of the doubt rule had to go. Since then, Bill, Stuart Raper, Tony De Las Heras, Steve Lyons and - I believe - two other yet-to-be-identified match officials have been punted.
Harrigan's comments have been largely forgotten. But you know what? He was right.
The benefit of the doubt rule was responsible for some of the biggest clangers of the year, even if it was wrongly applied. The Kieran Foran incident should have been the final nail in its coffin.
Basically, the rule says: "If there is 2 per cent chance that was a try, it's a try." No wonder video referees, in particular, were repeatedly perplexed by it.
The NRL, to the best of my knowledge, is the only rugby league competition in the world with benefit of the doubt. In fact, common sense indicates that the decision should be based on balance of probability.
Was it most likely a try? Then it is.
Take out the mistakes surrounding benefit of the doubt, and maybe the match officials have a decent year and seven blokes still have their jobs.
Ambassador role for Lockyer
No sooner had the last Discord appeared than I walked in on almost irrefutable evidence that the ARL Commission does, indeed, care about international football.
Before Darren Lockyer retired, he mused that he would like to be some kind of NRL ambassador to international football. Well, as it turns out, that is exactly when he has become.
The former Australia captain and an NRL staffer were in London and the north of England at the expense of the commission to help promote the World Cup.
Discord understands that among the ideas discussed was giving individual countries "clubhouses" at the tournament, where visiting fans and expats can gather and support can ferment. It's a concept that has worked well in rugby union.
Appointing NRL coaches to help developing nations in the lead-up to the 14-team tournament is also a consideration. The commission is keen to support the World Cup and help make it a success, evidently.
I guess rather than apathy - which is clearly not a problem - the challenge for the ARLC is to look at international football from a perspective that isn't too Australian.
Rugby league remains a regional sport in Britain and busting out of those boundaries as the next major sporting event after the Olympics is the big challenge for RLWC 13.
Lockyer may have been mobbed at functions in the north but only one journalist showed up in person for Tuesday's media opportunity in London - and he was there to interview Jamie Peacock, who he admitted was the first rugby league player he had ever dealt with.
The rest of the interviews were conducted over the phone with members of the league media who all live and work in the north.
Let's go to the comments ...
I didn't leave you long to provide feedback since the last column - sorry about that.
Diss Cord said it must have been a slow news week if all I had to talk about was the log. Great moniker, Diss - and yes, it was! My point was that we need the eligibility mess sorted - as an example - and can we trust an organisation that has green and gold plus the southern cross in its logo to make a decision that is not selfishly Australian?
It was indeed an honour to have the great Bob Abbott, a pioneer of modern day marketing in sport, not only read the column but comment. Bob, as far as I know, the national team will wear at least one ARL logo. It would be another terrible backwards step if they wear the NRL insignia as most of the teams they play against will also feature NRL players! I repeat, the NRL is a competition, not a country!
ew75, the NRL clubs do not own the competition or the commission. That model was championed by Russell Crowe but dismissed as being too dangerous, in that the clubs would then have the power to - effectively - sell rugby league. And the ARL apparently do care about the international game (see above) since they sent Darren Lockyer and one of their staff over here to promote the World Cup and are thinking of sinking considerable resource into the tournament. The AFL does do as much or more than some other "parochial" sports to spread the word. They run a World Cup (without Australia), play exhibition games overseas and also internationals against Ireland - although I accept at the moment it seems to be quiet on these fronts.
Ted, the Warriors will wear the black logo. But why do we have a new logo that requires another to be produced?
Goan, I am quite aware that the change of name from ARL to NRL was to acknowledge News Limited, not New Zealand! But it made the competition name less parochial anyway - so why change it back to something which excludes New Zealand? Because News aren't around? Nah, we could have done better.
Jimbob said referees are a much bigger problem and questioned why the likes of Tony De Las Heras and Steve Lyons were punted. I agree wholeheartedly. I thought one of the biggest problems the refs had was lack of experience. But what do we know, JimBob?
The story Benefit of doubt rule behind clangers and sackings first appeared on WA Today.