Broncos get “rough end of the pineapple’’
Former Test forward and commentator David Wright believes non-Sydney teams were getting a raw deal from NRL match officials.
"Queensland teams, Melbourne and the Warriors seem to appear to get the rough end of the pineapple and it has been happening for years,'' said Wright, who was adamant to emphasise that his comments are not intended to provide any excuse for any lack of effort and poor player performance.
"They don't seem to get the rub of the green.''
Wright, one of Queensland's finest players from the 1970s who then embarked on a three decade long league commentary career, said he did not want to come across as a "whinger" because he loved the game.
"I watch all the games and it's not about referee bashing".
"I got my referee's ticket years ago to assist in my commentary and coaching roles and I think in general the referees do a tough job well.''
But in his view the NRL was plagued with inconsistent rulings around discretionary calls.
"I speak with a lot of people around rugby league and I really feel I am echoing the thoughts of many.
"There is inconsistency in rule interpretations that lead to many controversial calls,'' Wright said.
"I compare that to when I commentated for more than 30 years in the Queensland Cup and I did not see anywhere near the number of controversial calls,'' Wright reflected.
"There were some, but most times I could sit there and see the reason for the refereeing decisions. But today I see a lot of controversial calls.''
He said the introduction of the six again call appeared at times to add a "whimsical" element to rulings.
Wright said after the recent Storm-Knights match which saw Newcastle get six, six-to-go calls to one, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy identified there were 69 slow play the balls in the match.
"His side had 42 slow play the balls, the Knights had only 27 slow play the balls, but the Knights got six advantages (through six again calls).
He said when the Broncos played Parramatta, the Eels were waved three, six-to-go calls in the first seven minutes, leading to two tries.
"Early infringements set a platform and allow good sides to create momentum which can lead to extended periods of domination. Possession is gold in the modern game.
"If you are a young side and don't get the rub of the green, the flood gates can open", he
"The Broncos have been penalised 34-9 in the last four games. You get penalised like that, and it is pretty hard to win.
"Some have been black and white penalties, but you have to say they are being hammered with discretionary penalties".
He was amused by the "the Sydney media" criticism of Melbourne captain Cameron Smith for
pointing out to the referee about a player being off-side in the round five clash against Newcastle.
"The reality was the bloke was a mile off-side. You hear players from all clubs calling out about forward passes, so all players do it (call out to refs about decisions).
"I reckon Cameron Smith cops undue criticism, similar to Wally Lewis because if you are not from Sydney, you are a target".
"Also I'm mystified why there is such a dearth of Queensland referees at the top level. I don't think a Queensland referee has refereed a State of Origin game in 20 odd years. Imagine if that was the other way around?
"I'm all for fast and furious footy but it must be fair. The interpretation of discretionary penalties must be consistent- please, no more rough end of the pineapple.''
Originally published as Broncos get "rough end of the pineapple''