Leeds Rhinos: Consistency is what we need from video referees – Ablett

Denny Solomona.
Denny Solomona.
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REFEREES HAVE a thankless task.

Managing the game now, with the speed it’s played at, is a really tough job and I am all for anything that makes life easier for them and helps ensure the right decisions get made.

I think the video ref is a good concept, but there are issues surrounding it. At the moment there’s a video referee at maybe three games per week, which is half of a round of matches.

That’s not ideal. In my opinion the RFL should be looking at ways of having it at all the games, so it is an even playing field.

The most important thing is getting the right system, so the correct decisions are being made. At the moment I don’t think that is happening often enough.

The video referee is there to make sure mistakes aren’t made, but that’s not happening.

There was a very good example in Cas’ Challenge Cup win over Salford last weekend.

Denny Solomona was awarded a try by the video referee which I think everyone would agree should not have been given.

The referee thought it was a try and the video ref gave it because he couldn’t see any evidence to overturn the decision.

But it didn’t look like Solomona had got the ball down and when the BBC showed a close-up later, it was obvious he hadn’t grounded it.

I think when things like that happen on national television it is embarrassing for the sport. I am not blaming the ref or the video ref. It wasn’t their fault, it is the system that’s wrong.

I don’t know why they have moved to a system where refs on the field are making a call when they’re not sure. It is forcing them to guess.

If we are going to have a system like this, we need to be getting decisions right. The video ref should be there to help the on-field officials, but it’s not working out like that.

Referees are only human and I think they do a good job in really tough circumstances, but sometimes they make mistakes, just like players do.

But when it goes upstairs and the video ref has as much time as he wants, with different camera angles, close-ups and slow-motion replays, the right decision should be made.

If a ref’s not sure and the technology is there, he shouldn’t be forced to guess. It looks bad for him if he gets it wrong and it puts the video ref in a difficult position.

I am sure if the original Solomona decision on Saturday had been ‘no try’, it wouldn’t have been given.

As a player I wouldn’t like to see the video ref scrapped. It can be frustrating when you are waiting around for a call to be made, but getting the right decisions is the most important thing. The competition is really tight this year.

There’s not much between the sides and decisions can have a big impact on games.

As a player, when you are standing there looking at the screen and the wrong decision is made, it is tough to take.

But then you are straight back into the action, so you have to try and forget about it and get your head switched back on to the job at hand.

We are out there to do our job and we can only focus on what we can control.


GARY HETHERINGTON’S letter to the Rhinos fans this week was an interesting read.

I didn’t know anything about it until it was published, but I agree with what he said and I think he was right to put it out there.

It is important the message gets across that we are all giving it everything we have got and we will get through this tough period.

It is difficult for players, fans and sponsors. We know they are hurting, but as players we are just the same.

Bottom of the table and out of the Challenge Cup isn’t where we want to be, but there are reasons for it and factors that are affecting us.

I think it’s important a figurehead at the club is getting the message across that there’s definitely no panic.

We are feeling the hurt and we want to do better, but the reality is we are where we are and the way we will get out of it is by staying tight and the fans staying on board.

We have had some great success in the past and everyone has been behind us, but these are the times when you really value that support.

The fans were phenomenal at Huddersfield – it felt like there were 4,000 Leeds supporters in the 5,000 crowd.

They kept singing right until the end. Hopefully we can get through this period, get some players back and pick up some wins and really give them something to cheer about.