NRL: Tony Archer reportedly ripped into Luke Patten for his officiating in the bunker

Tony Archer. Photo / Getty
Tony Archer. Photo / Getty

An unseen moment in the NRL bunker on Anzac Day shows officials aren't on the same page when it comes to interpreting the rules.

Speaking on NRL:360 on Tuesday night, co-host Paul Kent revealed referees' boss Tony Archer wasn't happy with Luke Patten, who was the main bunker official for the Storm's clash with the Warriors in Melbourne.

Patten green-lit a Cooper Cronk try in the second half after it was sent upstairs with a query of obstruction. A Melbourne decoy runner made contact with a defender as the Warriors were on their tryline, but the former Bulldog ruled the defender who was impeded would not have been able to get across and make a play at Cronk before he crossed the line, even if he wasn't bumped into.

As an ex-footballer, he used common sense and personal discretion to make a call rather than go by the strict black-and-white interpretation of the rules that would have seen the try disallowed.

Technically, the decoy runner, who ran a line from the outside in, hit "the outside shoulder of an inside defender" according to Ben Ikin, and therefore the try should not have stood.

That's why Archer wasn't impressed with Patten.

Kent said Archer and Bernard Sutton - a senior review official who wasn't officiating the Storm vs Warriors game - approached Patten after the match.

"After that happened, Tony Archer marched into the bunker and pulled Luke Patten aside with Bernard Sutton," said Kent.

"Luke Patten is an ex-player, he sees things as an ex-player would see them. Bernard Sutton is an ex-referee so he sees it as the letter of the law in strict black-and-white terms, so they have a difference in opinion on how the rules should be interpreted.

"Tony Archer rocked up at the end of the game and basically bollocked him (Patten) for basically causing inconsistency from decision to decision."

Eight rounds in to the NRL season and there is still confusion over rules - particularly the obstruction rule, which seems to cause controversy every year. This uncertainty is crippling the game, making people debate decisions more often than lauding players' skill.

If the referees can't agree on how to apply the rules amongst themselves, how can they expect coaches, players and fans to accept their rulings without question?

Roosters coach Trent Robinson lashed out at the bunker for interfering too much during his side's loss to the Dragons, and Kent believes one of the major problems is a lack of effective communication between the NRL, clubs and the media.

"The rules change every year, it's hard to keep up with them," Kent said
"Players and coaches discuss the rules and you think, 'Well hang on, that's actually not the rule anymore, that rule's been changed.'"

When asked by Ben Ikin if it was the NRL's responsibility to educate coaches and commentators on the rules each year, Kent replied: "Yes it is."

- news.com.au

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