NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley’s wish to have two new referees for game two is likely to fall on deaf ears after Tony Archer gave his series-opening men a big thumbs up.
Having watched his side go down 6-4 to Queensland on Wednesday, Daley sensationally revealed post-game he would be requesting both whistleblowers Gerard Sutton and Ben Cummins be sacked from Brisbane.
The Blues coach, whose team is one from five under the refereeing duo, was particularly upset with how successful the Maroons were at slowing down the speed of the ruck.
However referees boss Archer defended his choice pairing’s handling of the middle third in what was a strong overall outing.
“I thought both Gerard and Ben performed well in this match,” Archer told AAP.
“I was very happy with how they handled the rucks, and particularly the speed of the play the ball – which saw more than 63 per cent of the play-the-balls take four seconds or less.
“This contributed to more than four minutes extra ball in play time compared to last year’s first match at ANZ stadium.”
Not only was Archer happy with his men in the middle, but he also gave the under-fire bunker a tick of approval over two crucial calls that went against the Blues in the second half.
Video referee Bernard Sutton overruled an on-field decision of a try to Josh Morris in the 66th minute that would’ve given the Blues the lead, as well as a key scrum late in the game.
Archer said Sutton ruled correctly on both occasions.
“Following a live decision in the 66th minute the bunker reviewed the appropriate angles and had sufficient evidence to overturn the original ruling,” Archer said.
“It determined that the ball was never grounded in goal as there was a hand under the ball. The bunker was able to review multiple angles simultaneously and arrived at the correct decision.”
On the scrum overturn, Archer explained that the bunker had always had the backing of the coaches and rule committee to step in if and when it saw fit.
“The referees ruled a double knock-on with the first by Queensland. After reviewing the angles it was determined the first knock-on came from Boyd Cordner,” Archer said.
“He touches the ball with his left hand and the ball travels forward. The ball then hits Justin O’Neill’s right shoulder.
“The bunker has had the power to intervene in these types of incidents all season and this direction has been endorsed by both the NRL Coaches and the NRL Competition Committee in recent weeks.”
Archer said he would decide on his game two referees at the completion of round 14.