Video Ref Sacked over Stewarts Try


UFO Hunter
NRL video referee Steve Nash has become the latest casualty of the controversial obstruction rule, sacked yesterday for wrongly awarding a try to Manly fullback Brett Stewart at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

Referees coach Robert Finch confirmed that Nash had been axed for making the wrong call about Manly's first try, when halfback Matt Orford ran behind decoy runner Glenn Stewart.

News of Nash's sacking came as coaches continued their call for the obstruction rule to be reviewed. Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens suggested an immediate forum should be conducted involving all coaches and referees to clarify the situation.

Statistics uncovered yesterday reveal the impact of the obstruction rule: 50 penalties have been awarded in 46 games this year, just seven fewer than were awarded in the entire 2006 season for the offence.

The rule has coaches running scared. Several are understood to have told their players to immediately hit the deck rather than risk conceding a penalty for obstruction.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright, who was fined $5000 on Monday for entering the video referee's box to question Nash over his decision, is understood to be among those coaches to have told his players to submit the moment they feel they have gone behind a decoy runner.

During the Manly game, Titans hooker Clint Amos risked being penalised for a voluntary tackle when he went to ground without a hand being laid on him.

Amos wasn't penalised because a Manly player immediately put a hand on his back.

"If they hit the deck and no one puts a hand on them, they will immediately be penalised for a voluntary tackle," Finch said.

Sheens admitted he was still confused by the obstruction rule despite the NRL issuing an edict in a bid to clarify the situation.

The five-time premiership-winning coach believes the issue needs to be tackled now rather than at the end of the season.

Cartwright also reiterated his call yesterday for urgent action while conceding it was nice to be vindicated by Finch, who told The Australian on Monday Nash had got it wrong.

"I spoke to (Robert Finch) and he said it was 'no try' according to the rules that should have been applied," Cartwright said.

"But it doesn't help and they should have realised that at the time.

"It's an issue which pops up every week so it's got to be addressed somehow.

"At the moment it's a lottery every time it goes up there (to the video referee) when a second-man play is involved."

Canteen Worker

First Grader
This obstruction rule is a joke. Once in the game it was considered clever if you could fool a defender you were going to get the ball. As long as you didn't deliberately take him out etc you were fine, even if he tackled you on suspicion. Now we have a rule in which the interpretation is that any player wrongly sucked in can run into the other and get a penalty. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb and too much in favour of the defending team.


Winging it
I thought that the first try for Manly was acceptable. The reason for this is that no defender was impeded. Bill Harrigan said last Sunday that there is a line between the defense not reading a play properly (try time) or not being allowed to tackle properly because a player got in the way (no try). Based on Harrigan's comments Nash made the right call. I can't understand how he can now be penalised for something that was clearly covered the previous Monday.

Yep, it is a gigantic joke. Clever plays that have been a joy to watch for decades will be questioned every week.

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