Reds propose radical referee change

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds were seething at the state of refereeing long before last night's result, having proposed a radical change to the way officiating performances are reviewed earlier this year.

The QRU suggested a proposal - one of 11 - six weeks ago that proposed a model in which referee performances are reviewed by an independent body, not a SANZAAR panel made up of former referees.

The belief held by many inside the QRU is that there is next to no accountability for refereeing performances that are seemingly becoming worse and worse - driving fans away in the process.

The 16-5 penalty count last night was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Reds were already furious at the way Mike Fraser dished two frivolous yellow cards in the clash with the Jaguares as well as the "sealing" penalty paid by Will Houston in the final moments of the Crusaders match - a decision that cost the Reds four points.The Reds were left frustrated by the refereeing on Saturday. Photo: Getty ImagesNick Stiles is in regular contact with SANZAAR referees boss Lyndon Bray but the QRU viewed this proposal as a positive move which would provide better accountability in performances such as Saturday night's by Paul Williams.

It's understood the matter hasn't progressed any further, as the ARU's attention remains squarely focused on the matter of which Australian Super Rugby team will be cut ahead of the 2018 season.

Stiles wouldn't say much about Williams' performance after the match but there are others at the QRU who are furious with the way last night's match was handled.

The Reds were ill-disciplined but there were several head scratchers from Williams and there were plenty of other penalties paid against the Reds which weren't considered infringements by Tahs players.

"You just want a fair go, don't you," Stiles said last night.

"I'm limited with what I can say, because I can cop a $10,000 fine so I have to be really careful.

"Definitely some of those penalties were fair but you could go back through the whole game and if that's a penalty, why aren't we getting exactly the same thing."Could an independent review panel aid the standard of refereeing? Photo: Getty ImagesWhen asked if the penalty count was the decisive factor in last night's loss, Stiles was emphatic.

"Of course it was the deciding factor," he said.

"Second half, we couldn't get out of our own territory because any time we tried to play, we got penalised and we were back in our own territory.

"Bernard (Foley) is a very good kicker and well done, he slots his points and he kept them in the game.

"I can't wait for Lyndon Bray to call me.

"I've been really good with the referees - I think the game has to move forward by getting coaches in and putting positive input.

"I'm working really hard - speak to Lyndon a lot - send feedback and we are just trying to be better.

"But in that game, we are just trying to get a fair go."