To stop calls for a rematch, stop the blatant errors

OPINION: It's a funny thing.

When a team rorts the salary cap, such as the Melbourne Storm or the Canterbury Bulldogs, there are repercussions.

Points are stripped, premierships taken away, fines are handed out.

When a team accidentally fields 14 men on the field instead of 13, points get deducted as well.

It seems when a team stuffs up, there are clear punishments, whereas when officials stuff up the NRL board are happy to act like there is nothing they can do.

Almost every weekend this year there have been refereeing controversies, culminating in the disgraceful seventh-tackle try awarded to the Cronulla Sharks that almost certainly cost the North Queensland Cowboys the match in the first round of the finals series on Saturday afternoon.

Mistakes that you and I can easily diagnose from our lounge room at home seem to happen on a regular basis.

I'm a Knights fan, so of course a clanger that happened against Newcastle springs to mind.

An opposing team scored against my team earlier this year and the referee decided to review the try.

It was sent up to the video referee and you could see the opponent's arm had touched the sideline before the ball was grounded; or at least, 99% of people could see that.

The poor old video ref had obviously had better things to do than go to Specsavers that week, however, because he awarded the try.

Fortunately the Knights came back to win that game.

Newcastle made it into the finals series by the barest of margins, so if that decision had cost them the match I would have been every bit as bitter as the Cowboys fans are right now.

To compound the pain the team and the fans are feeling, this is the second year in a row a refereeing blunder has knocked the Cowboys out of the finals series.

Last year, it was a knock-on from Manly's Kieran Foran that was blatantly obvious to everyone, but not the video ref.

So I ask this question.

Why is it clubs can be punished, results altered, points taken away if it is the club which is at fault, but not the officials?

The six officials who can't count to six will probably be punished in some small way, by being made to referee the lower grades for a week or two; that won't help the Cowboys, whose year is over.

For referee Matt Cecchin, who was one of the officials involved in the Cowboys farce, the ice must be getting incredibly thin.

He was temporarily suspened earlier this year for two poor calls during a regular season match between the Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos.

But at least on that occasion, the bad calls resulted in a try for each team so at least it was even.

One may say that replaying the match would set a dangerous precedent.

Every match with a result-changing refereeing mistake would then need to be replayed, one might argue.

To that I can only reply: if you don't want fans to demand matches are replayed, stop with the blatant errors.

I don't think it's fair that the clubs be held to such a high standard while the officials aren't.

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