Colourful Canterbury coach Des Hasler has extended an olive branch to the Voldemorts, welcoming the introduction of the NRL bunker for video refs and calling for patience as it’s introduced.
Hasler has had a running battle with game’s referees at times in recent seasons but on the eve of his team opening NRL game of 2016 he praised their intent to “shoot for the stars” in the bid to reduce video referee errors to zero when adjudicating on tries.
Last year, Hasler famously described the whistle-blowers as “Voldemorts” to avoid mentioning referees during a memorable press conference and also copped a $20,000 fine for having a dig following his side’s win over Newcastle in August.
The new NRL bunker, a $2 million centralised high-tech video refereeing system, will be used in NRL matches for the first time during opening round starting Thursday.
“It’s a great initiative,” Hasler said on Thurdsay.
“It’s designed to cut down on time (spent on video ref decisions). It’s something that was always going to be in the plans and they’ve fast-tracked it. A lot of hard work has gone into it.
“Like a lot of things it’s got to be tested. We’ve got to be patient with it.”
When asked if the bunker could achieve NRL head of football Todd Greenberg’s goal of cutting video referee errors to zero, Hasler said: “They’re shooting for the stars. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
While Hasler sung the praises of the bunker, he was less convinced by the reduction in the interchange, this season’s other big innovation.
Hasler has forced his big men to shed the kilos in anticipation of the reduction in the number of substitutions from 10 to eight but said he didn’t believe it would have a big impact on the way sides played.
“I don’t think it will have its speculated effect really,” Hasler said.
“It’ll only really be tested when you come across injuries in the game or you’re forced to make an interchange with the concussion rule.”