Obstruction rule causing confusion


 It’s a sign of the times that when someone performs arguably the number one last-ditch heroic of the season so far, the first thing that crosses his mind is ‘‘obstruction ruling’’. 

 It’s a sign of the times that when someone performs arguably the number one last-ditch heroic of the season so far, the first thing that crosses his mind is ‘‘obstruction ruling’’. ‘‘I thought it could have been a possible obstruction because there were a couple of boys there I thought I ran around,’’ Canberra match-winner Paul Vaughan told Triple M after beating five defenders to upset Melbourne. Before kick-off, coach Ricky Stuart said on air the question was whether all referees have the same definition of obstruction. Asked what foot he normally steps off, Vaughan – meanwhile – answered: ‘‘Mate, I’m a front-rower. I don’t have a step.’’

In-goal judges bring perspective

In-goal judges patrolling the dead-ball line the way their colleagues do the sideline could solve the NRL’s obstruction dilemma, according to Raiders patriarch John McIntyre. ‘‘Back when we had them before, there were very few decisions contested,’’ the veteran official said on Sunday at GIO Stadium. The predecessors of video referees, in-goal judges used to rule on groundings but would be well placed to make a call on whether a defender was improperly obstructed by a decoy. 

Holiday crowds will come 

Big crowds for traditional clashes in the NRL over the weekend indicate that regardless of our sport’s current challenges attracting people, fans like derbies on public holidays. People will get off their backsides for games when the shops and pubs are mostly closed and there’s no work tomorrow. We need to stack public holidays with appealing games in the years ahead; make these days special across the board, not just at selected venues.

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