Leeds Rhinos: Perplexed Wolves boss slams ‘rubbish’ video referee system

Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith.
Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith.
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THE VIDEO referee system came under fire from Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith after a controversial try in his team’s 49-10 defeat at Leeds Rhinos.

Video referees Phil Bentham and Chris Kendall awarded a touchdown to Rhinos’ Danny McGuire, after man in the middle James Child had originally indicated ‘no try’.

Smith, a former Leeds team boss, stressed the incident, which came when Leeds led 16-6, was not a game-deciding moment, but he felt the video referees were wrong to overturn Child’s decision.

He said: “Rhys Evans touches that ball, no doubt. It goes straight through Carl Ablett’s hands into his breadbasket.

“In rugby league terms, he drops the ball. We go to the video ref to see if his fingernail touches it or not. The referee got it right on the day, it’s a knock-on – it’s a rugby league knock-on every day of the week.

“To go to the video ref and conclusively overturn that, Leeds were ready to pack the scrum.

“Carl himself was the furthest bloke up the field. Nobody went back onside, it’s a rugby league knock-on. To quote [former St Helens coach] Nathan Brown, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.

“That was a knock-on. If we’re not going to call those or we have to go to the video ref to see if it goes straight through his arms and hits his chest on every occasion, it’s rubbish. We’ve gone too far with it.”

Smith added: “I am not a big fan of the video ref, never have been. Give it to the people on the field, they will get it right 95 per cent of the time.

“I’m not sure the video ref gets it right that many times. We all get puzzled by it, it’s a time consumer and so often it’s wrong.

“If we’re getting to that stage where you’re not going to call those sorts of plays a knock-on, it’s not rugby league then. It changes the whole face of the game.”