The Need To Remove The RFL From The Decision Making Process

I’m looking at Rugby League on a world wide basis, and I can not for the life of me understand why the RFL has any influence on the decision making process at international level.

The RFL and its shambolic track record. An organization that can not even properly administer its own tiny little club competition. An organization that in 2000 sent itself to the wall with its suicidally bad organization of that season World Cup.

We let THOSE people have a say in how the international game in run?


One look at this years Four Nations shows why the RFL needs to be cut out of the decision making process. When you have Australia and New Zealand turning up and being bewildered by decisions that are being made, something is very, very wrong.

Australia are the financial drivers of this game. New Zealand are the World Champions. Why do we need any input from England as to what the game needs to run effectively?

The ridiculous, long running saga regarding the appointment of referee’s sums it all up.

In the past, Australia have pushed the idea that the best officials should rule over the best games. It doesn’t matter where they come from, a referee is by definition a neutral in any contest.

This isn’t the 1940’s where a local whistle blower was given a nudge and a wink to screw over one side. These people are professionals being watched by hundreds of thousands on TV at any given time.

In Australia, no one cares where referee’s come from. They are rated on their on field performance. It is a very different story in Great Britain though where there is ridiculous paranoia about biased refereeing. Fans there know where referee’s come from and they talk all the time about the way they are biased t6o what is supposedly their local side.

It is small minded thinking for an English game whose horizons have not changed much in 116 years.

Even New Zealand can’t understand why the Poms are so obsessed with where referee’s come from. Over the past few years they have pushed for games between themselves and Australia to be refereed by NRL referee’s. These pleas from the World Champions have somehow fallen on deaf ears!

When Henry Perenara was appointed to referee games in the Four Nations, Australia and New Zealand BOTH knew he wasn’t ready for the set up.

Henry Perenara is a former NRL player who is one of a few recent retiree’s that NRL has fast tracked through the refereeing ranks to bolster the depth of refereeing talent, and to blur the divide between referee’s and players.

The NRL (Who only control the 16 team NRL competition and have no say at all in international football) are doing a good job in that regard and the likes of Henry Perenara and former Roosters Luke Phillips have done well in their short careers.

Perenara has refereed lower grade games, but at NRL level, he has only every been a touch judge. With that in mind I KNOW Australia would not have appointed him as an international referee yet, and while New Zealand would support a fellow Kiwi, he wouldn’t be controlling their games anyway, so they would appoint him either.

That leaves the English and the RFL. They were the ones that appointed Henry Perenara to control Australia vs England at Wembley.

So how did he go?

I thought for the most part he did alright. He allowed the game to flow, he controlled the ruck area well, he was fair with both side and the players on the field decided the game.

With the Tony Williams high tackle, it wasn’t as bad as the English are making it out to be. Westwood was alright, he took the first hit up after the tackle. It went to the judiciary and Williams only got one week. Play on….a fair result.

As for Englands no try, it happened quickly and probably should have been given. It didn’t effect the result of the game though. Australia were way too good, even with Billy Slater not having much game time and the lineup having to be reshuffled.

After the game, the bleating from England was over the top. They were furious at the referee THEY appointed. Of course, in their eyes, he cost them the game…

Its a familiar story though. The Poms have tried all sorts of referee’s to help them win.

They have tried a Frenchmen, didn’t work. They have tried two Kiwi’s, didn’t work. They have tried an Australian that was refereeing in Super League, didn’t work. They even tried an Englishman and got thrashed….he never controlled another contest again after he was supposedly so unbiased towards England that he was biased for Australia!

These are the people making decisions on the international game!

To think that these people are in charge of running the 2013 World Cup is scary. The tournament is going to be a disaster financially. Crowd wise it will be poor, organization will be poor, venue choice will be poor, as far as TV goes, it is in the worst time slot for the majority of Rugby League markets…

Why do we let this happen?

The sooner the RFL is removed from the decision making process in the international game, the better. These people can not run Super League effectively, to the point where it is heading towards becoming a semi professional competition that is used as a lower grade feeder competition for the NRL and RFU.

When these amateur, self important, egotistical morons have been removed from the decision making process and Australia and New Zealand set the agenda, the international game will start to make great strides once more.

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