Referees to ‘verbalise’ count to avoid error

REFEREES will have to call each tackle number into their microphones in this weekend's NRL semi-finals to try to avoid a repeat of Saturday's debacle where the Sharks scored on the seventh tackle of a set against the Cowboys.

The try, which came in the eighth minute from the bonus tackle on the way to a 20-18 victory, ended the Cowboys season in controversial fashion. Referees boss Daniel Anderson told Sky Sports Radio yesterday that by counting the tackles into their chest microphones, other officials, including the touch judges and video referees, a repeat of the mistake should be avoided.

"Referees use different methods to count tackles. They use fingers, they do it in their head, and they don't verbalise every single tackle," Anderson said.

"Now the referees have to verbalise their tackle count into their chest mic as much as possible out loud, so that everyone else on the officiating crew know what's being said - then if it's incorrect it can be corrected.

"(Miscounts) do occur over the course of the season so basically it's just a miscount.

"There's nothing else to say, it's a human error. There are five officials that literally should also have count, and that's what we call our fail-safes, and if you want they all failed at the same time."

Anderson also indicated the referees in charge of the Sharks v Cowboys game, Matt Cecchin and Henry Perenara, would not be officiating in this week's first-grade finals, but he added their careers were not over.

"I'm not here to hang them to a post out the front," Anderson said. "There are consequences for decisions and this is a big error and we'll deal with it in house."

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