Limit power of NRL video ref: McCallum

Former NRL match review boss Greg McCallum has called on video referees to be banned from reviewing incidents of foul play.

McCallum, a former State of Origin, Test and grand final referee, weighed into the simmering debate over diving on Wednesday and argued any action over questionable incidents should be left in the hands of the on-field officials.

Angst escalated over the weekend after Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson accused St George-Illawarra centre Euan Aitken of feigning injury in their Anzac Day loss.

As Canberra coach Ricky Stuart also joined the chorus of those wanting the video referees powers to be limited, McCallum took to Facebook to express his disdain for the current process.

“The practice (diving) in my view can be controlled quite easily by restricting the VR (video referee) being brought into it,” wrote McCallum, who headed up the match review committee for 10 years before retiring at the end of 2013.

“If a player is fouled then either the match officials on the ground or the Match Review Committee after the game deal with it.

“Teams are happy for their players to do it (stay down) because they stand to gain from it. Remove the VR from the equation and a dramatic decrease will follow. It is a bad look in our game.”

McCallum, who refereed 30 Origin games and over 20 Tests, said the current system encouraged players to stay down.

“Refs can’t tell on the field – they need a clear look at the incident/tackle to be able to factor in injury,” he wrote.

“The good thing is that if a player gets away with a foul then it is picked up afterwards. The way it is at the moment is giving too much sway to feigning.”

Stuart also expressed his frustration with the growing trend of players exploiting the video referees’ powers.

“They’re the rules of the game. I can see what players are doing, there’s an advantage there,” he said.

“I’ve been banging on about this for two years, but no one listens.

“They need to take away that scenario and leave it for an investigation after the game and take it out of the players’ ability to look for an advantage.”

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