How NRL can ensure final siren never happens again

Melbourne’s Young Tonumaipea celebrates his winning try against the Dragons after the siren.
Melbourne’s Young Tonumaipea celebrates his winning try against the Dragons after the siren.


Game On loves a revolutionary idea in sport and was positively beside itself when refs' boss Tony Archer revealed his new whiz-bang way to avoid another Siren-gate.

Ready, video ref? Almost time to do your best Whispering Ted Lowe impersonation. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one - that's it. Blow that whistle, Mr Cecchin. Blow that bloody whistle!

But we think the beautiful old lady that is rugby league can come up with a few more foolproof ways to prevent the Steve Price scowl and Peter Doust pout in the future.

Here are 10 of the best:

1. Ever seen Twenty20 cricket? Nah, neither have we. The hollow echo of our own feet shuffling through an empty Sheffield Shield stand is much more our go. But we've heard that this jazzed-up rock 'n' roll cricket is full of lights. Are you listening, rugby league? Light up those useless flags on top of the goalposts. Light up the crossbar. Light up the corner posts (it's not like we're using them for anything else these days). Light up the whole bloody stadium in fluoro colours on full-time. Do you like that, Mr I-wasn't-Cecchin-when-it-was-full-time?

2. Too much neon for your liking? Well how about we flick the switch, Billy Idol style? Lights out everywhere. That'll put a stop to them. Includes you too, Mr Tonumaipea. Think anyone outside of your family will know you now?

3. Wati. Wati Holmwood. The sneaker-clad streaker. Yep, the big, beautiful, bronzed boofhead with an impeccable sense of timing. Fly him around the country. Every game, every week. Unleash him right on 80 minutes. I mean, the guy almost halted Queensland's Origin dynasty. Think he won't halt a regulation NRL match? Foolproof.

4. OK, so Wati was last seen clad in prison greens. Maybe not foolproof after all. This bloke is though: the Phantom Siren. Come to think of it, where was he when the Dragons really needed him? Needn't matter, he's always easily heard. Let's fly him around the country to every game and let those whistleblowers know exactly when full-time should be. He's never late.

5. Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler, Andy Raymond, every bloody sideline eye known to rugby league - what exactly is it you do? Interviewing out-of-breath, Gatorade-swilling muscle men moments after full-time. It adds nothing, I tell you. Time to be put to use. Get on the field before full-time, shove that immaculately branded microphone into the face of any player you can find just as the siren goes and see if they can produce that after-the-siren Hail Mary now.

6. The exploding ball. Boom! Detonate it to the exact millisecond. And who said rugby league had lost all its on-field fireworks? No shoulder charges, no gladiatorial battles, no worries. This will be sure to create a few, ahem, sparks.

7. Hire Sir Alex Ferguson. Think about it: out of a job and always knowing when a match should end. Memo Dave Smith: Send one of those Barry O'Farrell vintages across to the Old Dart, throw in a stopwatch and watch the great man's rosy-red cheeks glow. A one-man solve-all for the timekeeping troubles. And it would get him out of watching his Man Yoo dynasty crumble.

8. Er, sorry Mr Smith. Apparently Sir Alex still likes watching Man Yoo turn more manure than wanting to help you out. But we still like the watch idea. Let's bring back Frank Hyde's man-of-the-match prize for the weekly match of the day: the great Seiko timepiece. It's never wrong. With me, history buffs?

9. You thought you were clever, didn't you OPSM? Well, you've just opened up a can of worms. You're not the only one who can take the mickey. Cochlear. Complete Hearing Services. Lyric Hearing. Precision Hearing. They all want a slice of the action now. Test the refs, fit them with hearing aids and bingo! Problem solved. How do you like sharing that advertising space on the pink refs' billboards now, OPSM?

10. Video ref. This might be too ridiculous in its simplicity, but what if every post or mid-siren touchdown is reviewed before it's approved. It becomes a rule, not an option. Had the frantic passage of play when the Storm snatched victory last Monday been checked, the man upstairs might have seen that the play-the-ball was made marginally after the siren sounded.


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