The NRL has responded to criticism of its bunker by reducing the scope of the decision review system’s power.
The bunker will no longer be used to determine knock-ons in general play or be called upon for 40-20 calls in 2017.
It will only rule on point-scoring plays, in-goal restarts and reportable foul play.
NRL officiating boss Tony Archer said the bunker was hampered by confusion of jurisdiction in its inaugural season last year.
“From goal line to goal line, we expect the on-field officials to make the call. This makes it much clearer,” Archer told reporters on Tuesday.
“Double knock-ons … led to some confusion among fans, players and coaches, so we wanted to have a clear line for that.
“40-20, it is difficult with some to use the camera angles and the technology we have. Referees on field are in the best position.”
The $2-million Sydney-based bunker had mixed fortunes in its rookie year, with the NRL reporting five errors out of 709 video referrals last season.
Heralded as a quick-fix to the long, tedious referrals sent up to video officials in recent years, it averaged 64 seconds per decision and 55 seconds in the finals – figures the NRL expects to improve.
“We want that time to be under 50 seconds,” NRL head of football Brian Canavan said.
“The intrusion of the video referral system to the run of play was something that annoyed our fans.
“We just decided to simplify it … and also empower our referees to make the decisions on field.”
Also from 2017, an official from technology company Hawk-Eye will sit in the bunker during games to help adjudicators select the best camera angles in shorter time.
The bunker was subject to a review by the NRL’s competitions committee and head coaches at season’s end.
“It’s not so much about limiting errors. It’s ensuring there’s a continuity in the game,” Archer said.
“We got better as the year went on. So from our point of view, it was a matter of streamlining it one more step.”