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The ire of the Tigers – it’s time to blow up the Bunker, or at least make these three changes


The debacle we witnessed in the closing seconds of the round 19 match between the Cowboys and the Tigers has brought the blight known as ‘the Bunker’ into sharp focus and almost universal criticism.

I say almost, as NRL ostriches including Peter V’landys and Graham Annesley continue to live in denial, while the Bunker once again brings the game into disrepute. Looking back at the game, it was a great spectacle, and the few game lowlights all seem to have the Bunker’s grubby finger prints on them.

Round 19 had plenty of highlights to celebrate and talk about – Josh Addo-Carr scoring a treble and reminding Brad Fittler why he should have played Origin; Latrell Mitchell leading Souths to a rare victory over the Storm; and Brisbane confirming that the Eels are just making up the numbers. Instead, the focus is once again on the Bunker, and its astounding level of incompetence. Even vaping, eye gouging and Manly’s jersey debacle can barely get a run in the media ahead of the Bunker outrage.

Now it won’t come as any surprise to Roar readers that I hate the Bunker. In my view, it has caused far more controversy and dissention than almost any other rugby league “innovation”. It hasn’t worked, it isn’t fit for purpose and it’s treated with scorn, disdain and scepticism by most fans of the game. If betting on rugby league was legal, the bunk….Oh, wait.

It’s high time we took an axe to it, pruned back its powers, and turned it into a refereeing aid, rather than rugby league’s version of Big Brother. Failure to do so will result in more fans becoming disenchanted with the game, just like the many Wests Tigers fans sitting out there at the moment wondering just what happened and why they bother.

We only need to look at rugby union to see the negative impact that their version of the Bunker, the TMO, has had on the game. It’s now slowed the game down to a walk, full of long deliberations and confusing decisions.

So what to do with the Bunker? Here’s the plan:

1. Get rid of the captain’s challenge entirely. Finished, gone, kaput.
2. Get rid of the Bunker’s power to confirm tries, or more accurately, their power to disallow them. This is the referee’s job.
3. If the referee has any doubt about a try, or an incident of foul play, let him refer that specific matter to the Bunker for advice e.g. the grounding of the ball in the act of scoring a try, or high contact in making a tackle, but leave the final decision with the referee. If a matter is referred, the Bunker should advise only on that specific matter e.g. the grounding of the ball, and nothing else.

Sounds simple doesn’t it. I still hate the Bunker!

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