NRL bunker faces biggest test in GF debut

There is one NRL grand final debutant that will arguably be under the greatest pressure at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

But video referee Bernard Sutton insists he’s confident the maligned NRL bunker will pass its biggest test without controversy.

“We’ve had a number of decisions where we’ve been able to make accurate calls in an efficient manner during the finals,” Sutton told AAP.

“We’re in a reasonable position coming into this weekend. Obviously we’ll be judged by how we perform in the grand final, but that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The $2 million bunker has had mixed fortunes in its rookie year.

Heralded as a quick-fix to the long, tedious referrals sent up to video officials in recent years, the Eveleigh offices have withstood a barrage of criticism during the season.

The attacks hit fever pitch in round 21 when Brisbane forward Herman Ese’ese was denied a try due to double-movement, drawing widespread furore around the league community.

But the governing body has staunchly defended the bunker’s effectiveness, proudly claiming last month that they had provided fans an additional 10 hours of live play this year.

“When you look back and try and measure where we are, we need to look at where we’ve come from as well,” Sutton said.

“The reason the bunker was introduced was to increase the efficiency around the speed of decision-making and also the accuracy.

“If you have look at the measures across the season. We’re around about 15 per cent faster in terms of the efficiency of decision-making. We know we’re more accurate than last year.”

Referees boss Tony Archer said the bunker had been in good form throughout the finals.

“I’m really comfortable where it’s been over the last few weeks. I think our decision-making has been really accurate and really efficient and they’ve contributed to the games,” he said.

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