Monday morning before the opening State of Origin battle for the year is upon us and so too are the same people in the media trying to tell Todd Greenberg what to do.
Today it’s Phil Rothfield, appealing to Greenberg “to let the game flow. To instruct the State of Origin I referees to drop the nit-picking that has turned rugby league into a sometimes boring and stop-start snooze fest.”
What is boring is Rothfield’s pathetic nit-picking. His same old stop-start rhetoric is snooze-fest inducing.
More importantly though, Mr Greenberg, I would hate to see the day that the game is run by whatever some tired, whinging dinosaur in the media has to say.
It was their complaints after the Sharks v Storm game, where over 30 penalties were blown and legends Cameron Smith and Luke Lewis both spent time in the sin bin, which fuelled their attacks on the NRL for their unbelievable stance of enforcing the rules.
A few weeks later a total of 14 players were sent to the sin bin in one round, the most in one round in over 20 years.
Not once has any of these detractors employed anything other than the aggressively stupid and damaging tact of blaming referees. The players and clubs are committing the acts and deserve to be punished, yet are being let off and now it seems, have Rothfield suggesting they should be allowed to cheat.
What makes Rothfield’s stance today so much more laughable is the fact he was sooking about referees NOT doing their job properly last year. Now he’s demanding that they don’t do their job properly in 2018. This is enough evidence alone to prove that this man should never have his opinions on how the game should be run listened to, let alone considered.
We also know that refs have a history of being ultra-lenient in Origin games anyway, so there really is no crisis here, bar the one Rothfield is trying to create.
My message to you though Mr Greenberg is simple.
While your suggestion to #TalkTheGameUp is a good one, we are facing a different problem here on two fronts. Media attacking match officials is disgraceful and needs to be addressed, in a firm manner. We all know referees make mistakes, they are humans after all. But the constant denigration and the abhorrent insinuations by some commentators that the referees are trying to get in the spotlight, or the rubbish view of some fans that they are match fixing and the like, need to end. Be as harsh as you need to on this.
Because it leads to a bigger issue and my second point. The message this belittling of referees sends to children. That players are never at fault, it’s the referees who are to blame. Do we really want a game where kids are abusing referees? Or a game where no-one wants to be an official. It’s a hard enough job as it is, they don’t need to cop this verbal diahorrea from cowards that have never once tried their hand at being an official at this level.