Data shows six counts in favor of losing teams
Perhaps the referee’s historic choreographer role is a reflection of their subconscious ego: a desire to keep the game close because even competition reflects favorably on them.
Most likely it is a reflection of the love of the game. After all, explosions put the code to shame. To be fair, the vast majority of the six calls again are deserved. The Bulldogs are last on the NRL ladder and top the list of sinners with 109 repeat sets conceded. Of these, 35 are when the match score is tied, compared to 17 received when the score is tied.
So when the game is on the line, the Bulldogs concede twice as many repeat series as they receive, suggesting poor discipline is their problem.
Referees also deserve a bit of sympathy because some clubs are playing by the rules, deliberately conceding six counterattacks at the beginning of the tackle count when opposing players are camping in their own half.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook said of the Rabbitohs after their 36-6 loss in round 22: “They were getting out of line. They didn’t care if it was six o’clock, again or not. Or how slow they did it. They knew we were buried deep down and we couldn’t get out. “
It’s no wonder Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett takes a different view of skewed scores, saying, “Coaches aren’t getting the best of their teams.”
Hmm. The skinny coach is ahead in the department by six laps, with a differential of plus six. When scores in a game are tied, the Souths have won the tally 20 times and lost it only nine times, indicating that their boys know when to behave.
The Panthers are second on the NRL ladder, but they lead the competition in terms of the six-lap differential, having received 25 more repeat series than they have conceded.
When a game is tied, their numbers are even more impressive than the Rabbitohs, receiving 16 more than they concede.
Wests Tigers are the only club that does not attract the sympathy of the referee when he is surprised by the opposition, conceding two more repeated sets than they receive. They are like the child who, having been whipped by the headmaster, said it did not hurt. Then the director says, “I’ll give you six again.”
If you’re not convinced umpires have hearts, consider the roving Warriors, on the road for nearly two seasons.
Being whipped for 19 or more points, the referees awarded them 18 repeat sets, while punishing them only four times, suggesting that even the match officials, like all of us, do not want them to pack up and go home to New Zealand.
With the play-offs just two weeks away, and the best teams competing, blowouts should subside, but a six-call again will likely decide a semi-final.
Surprisingly, the Sydney media erupted in 1978 when referee Greg Hartley awarded Manly a try at the seventh tackle, yet teams now routinely receive six more tackles without a whimper.
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