NRL referee boss backs tackle system

Another tackle count howler has been discovered by an unimpressed Tony Archer from last round – but the NRL referees boss insists their system still works.

The trio involved in the five tackle drama that marred Canberra’s 30-22 win over Wests Tigers last Sunday – lead referee Henry Perenara, assistant Gavin Reynolds and video official Matt Cecchin – have all been spared the axe.

And Archer has also been merciful to officials involved in a seven tackle count gaffe that has emerged from the Bulldogs’ 28-16 win over Manly on Friday night.

Canterbury almost scored through Moses Mbye when the incorrect seventh tackle was allowed by lead referee Gavin Badger, his assistant Gavin Morris and video official Bernard Sutton in the 10th minute of the Dogs-Manly clash at ANZ Stadium.

It marked the second time the Bulldogs received a seven tackle set in three weeks.

Archer admitted it was “not good enough” but still had faith in tackle count changes that were introduced after Cronulla scored a seventh tackle try in their 2013 finals win over North Queensland.

“In our internal review we identified there was a seven tackle set for the Bulldogs against the Sea Eagles on Friday night – that process broke down again,” he told the NRL website.

“Obviously that is an area of attention for the referees this week and we will be working really hard to have it correct next weekend.

“We have a process in place and it has worked well for the first part of this year.

“We need to really refocus on that…but the system works if the assistant ref, lead ref and video referee all do their job.

“We need to be better at it.”

Under the changes, the assistant referee repeats the tackle count called by the lead ref.

The video referee is also expected to monitor the tackle count and identify mistakes by on-field officials.

“It obviously happened because we didn’t follow the process,” Archer said of the tackle count mistakes.

“We have had a process in place for a little while now where the lead ref calls the tackle, that’s confirmed by the assist ref and ultimately the video referee has a level of responsibility around that.

“If he identifies an error he has to communicate with the onfield officials and have it rectified.

“That broke down…and that’s not good enough.”

Badger has been demoted to assistant status for Friday’s Bulldogs-Tigers and Sunday’s Panthers-Sharks clashes.

His assistant at Friday’s Dogs-Sea Eagles game, Morris, has been given lead referee duties for Saturday’s Warriors-Titans showdown.

Sutton has kept his video referee job for Saturday’s Roosters-Dragons match.

Officials involved in the Wests Tigers-Canberra five-tackle howler also learned their fate on Tuesday.

Perenara was spared the axe but has been relegated to Cecchin’s assistant for Saturday’s Melbourne-Manly clash.

Reynolds is Gerard Sutton’s assistant for the Roosters-Dragons match.

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