Ricky Stuart didn’t get the memo, but it appears the NRL’s much maligned bunker is taking a back seat in a bid to eliminate diving from rugby league.
After NRL coaches moved to limit the bunker’s involvement in live play at a meeting last week, the central command centre’s powers have been curtailed.
It’s a move the rugby league’s governing body has apparently given the rubber stamp to, they just haven’t told everybody yet.
“I don’t know if that is the rule now, but we spoke about it at the coaches’ meeting that the bunker shouldn’t rule on foul play like that if the referees miss it,” Canberra mentor Stuart said.
Stuart was referring to a Joel Thompson high shot on Raiders playmaker Blake Austin in the first half of St George Illawarra’s golden point win at Kogarah on Thursday night.
The tackle broke Austin’s nose and Thompson will likely be cited by the NRL’s match review committee.
Ashley Klein told protesting Raiders’ players he didn’t see the tackle and the bunker didn’t intervene.
The bunker drew the ire, most notably, of coach Trent Robinson after Sydney Roosters’ Anzac Day loss, when the the NRL’s new technology intervened to penalise Dylan Napa late in the fixture.
In the same post-match press conference Robinson bemoaned the proliferation of diving, or players playing for penalties, in the NRL.
The NRL hasn’t sent out an alert to NRL officials, coaches, players or media in regard to the tweak of the rules regarding the bunker. However it indicated a change in a press release following the coaches’ meeting.
“There was support among the coaches for the referees to make more decisions rather than relying on video evidence in real time,” the release read.
Stuart supported the move.
“He (Thompson) will go for that, he broke his nose,” Stuart said.
“But I think it will stop diving. I agree that the bunker should not come down and adjudicate on foul play.
“I don’t know if it is now or if it is isn’t … obviously it is … I haven’t got the memo and that is not to be smart about it. But I didn’t know if the rule was in.”