In these financially chastened times there would have been a few bean counters watching the first Bledisloe test, hopeful they would see proof that test football could permanently dispense with neutral referees.
They didn't get it. In fact, what they got was definitive proof that it would be mad to even think about persevering with the Covid-enforced home-town appointments that are a necessity of this Bledisloe series.
Test rugby needs neutral appointments no matter the cost or logistical difficulty posting them around the world.
There is no cost-benefit analysis to be made on the issue of neutrality: test rugby will turn into a nonsense if impartiality is lost. And those referees asked to take charge of their own nation will be mentally broken, crushed by the impossible pressure that was apparent in the first Bledisloe test.
It is a curse of the modern game that so much time is spent picking apart the refereeing decisions that were and weren't made, but it would be remiss not to wonder whether the officiating group in Wellington had their judgement skewed and impacted by the knowledge clanking around inside their own heads that they were not protected by neutrality.
Angus Gardner is arguably the best referee in Australasia and yet in his capacity as assistant in Wellington, he failed to see Rieko Ioane put a foot in touch in the build-up to the All Blacks first try.
Five million New Zealanders saw it and yet Gardner, who in every slowed down piece of footage appeared to have a clear line of sight on the incident, didn't raise his flag. Why not?
Because he missed it or because he was fearful about how it would look if an Australian was responsible for denying the All Blacks their first test try in 2020?
New Zealand referee Paul Williams didn't penalise Tupou Vaa'i late in the game for a side entry at a ruck that led to a turnover. Now, on this, he could normally be forgiven as referees, even the best ones, miss things.
But did he really not see it or was he under incredible pressure to not see it because he feared what would happen if he gave Australia a kickable penalty to snatch their first win in New Zealand since 1986?
Had he given it, would he have been accused of over-compensating to rid himself of any allegation of home-town bias?
That same pressure and inevitable concern about optics and public perception may also be why there was no exploration of several late hits on Richie Mo'unga.
When Ioane's try was ruled out, play should have resumed with a penalty to New Zealand on the Wallabies 22 where Mo'unga was hit late and high.
But it didn't. There was no mention even of the incident requiring a second look, which in the current climate of head knocks being imperative to punish, would in any other circumstance be impossible to understand.
Except of course on this occasion, given the nationality of the officials and the undoubted feelings of compromise they consciously or unconsciously felt, it wasn't impossible to understand.
All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree obviously wondered like everyone else whether the game would have been handled differently had the officials been neutral.
"The local referees referee us a lot," Plumtree said. "They know us and we know why it puts pressure on the referee – because it's based around being biased or whatever."
Covid created an unavoidable circumstance where there was no choice but to employ a mix of local officials for the first two Bledisloe tests and while it has created a source of angst in one regard, it has at least cleared up definitively whether test football could wind back the clock and hand local men the whistle.
At various times in the last 20 years, debate has erupted about whether tests should be managed by the best referees regardless of nationality.
It was a strong theme in 2005 when the British & Irish Lions said they would be happy for Kiwi referee Paddy O'Brien to be involved in the test series.
Plenty of games in recent years have been twisted or turned by random acts of officiating and hence there have been those who have felt there has been a legitimate argument to say, why appoint a neutral referee for the biggest games if he's not the best?
The argument extends into saying that it's surely a given that impartiality is built into their conscience – that they operate without emotion or investment in the outcome all the time anyway, so why would a test be any different?
Older followers, who endured the awful days of seeing South African referees shamelessly cheat to aid the Springboks, will say that's all the evidence needed to know why it would be different.
Now we have more and can conclude that when it comes to test football, neutral referees are the best referees.