NRL referees: With control comes respect

With two sin binnings on the weekend, it’s clear NRL referees are cracking down on the way they are spoken to.

Chris Sandow was given 10 in the bin for questioning how much the referee was getting paid.

This wasn’t the best way for Sandow to deal with the situation, but I can understand his frustrations.

The referees have lost control and are responding by treating dissent more harshly than in the past. However, they are not treating the root cause of the issue.

Earlier this year, referees’ boss Tony Archer made a statement that they are cracking down on players questioning the ref during the game. Only captains were able to speak to the referee and this can only occur during a stoppage in play. It’s important to note that penalties and scrums are not considered stoppages in play.

The referees enforced this for a couple of weeks but have since allowed players to go back to their old ways. If the referees aren’t enforcing the rules, the players are going to try and get away with whatever they can.

It seems the referees are taking the lenient approach to try and gain respect from players and coaches. They seem to think that if they let players get away with certain things they will respect them. The total opposite has been the result and the refs have lost control.

The referees have backed themselves in a corner and the only way to get out of it is to become harsher with players. Rather than letting it get to the point where players are questioning their integrity, they need to call the game as they see it and stop warning players.

If a player is offside, call it. If a player isn’t playing the ball with their foot, penalise them. They will quickly learn that they can’t do it anymore. There will be some backlash from players and coaches but it will eventually earn their respect.


Coaches are paid to coach the players and referees are paid to enforce the rules. If both sides concentrate on what they’re supposed to do, the game will be better for it.


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