Warrington Wolves chief Tony Smith calls for video technology to be scrapped
Tony Smith has called for the use of video technology in rugby league to be scrapped in favour of a reliance on in-goal officials.
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby has long favoured the removal of video referees but only spoke out following his side's 24-22 defeat at Leeds on Saturday.
Some of the decisions made by the video official at Headingley left Smith puzzled and he believes the still subjective nature of decisions made with the aid of technology is harmful to the game.
He said: “I was a bit puzzled by a few video ref decisions.
“I've been on a bit, not publicly so far, about doing away with it altogether and letting human error take its place on the field because I think there's still human error going on with technology.
“I'm not so sure the human eye doesn't just pick stuff up and get a hunch about how things look and should be.
“Occasionally technology helps, I think, if someone puts a toenail on the white line. But there were certainly some puzzling ones tonight, a bit on both ways.
“I would much prefer for people on the field to take care of it and we all just accept that.
“When you look at things three or four times and come up with things probably contrary to what the rulebook states, it's worrying.”
Smith was left particularly unhappy about video referee Ben Thaler's decision to let Rhinos' first try stand.
Ryan Hall was awarded a try when he touched down the loose ball after Richie Mathers had failed to deal with Kevin Sinfield's chip into the in-goal area.
But, while replays showed Mathers tried and failed to scoop up the loose ball, Warrington's full back still appeared to get a touch on it.
Smith believes that touch was enough to constitute ‘downward pressure', meaning the try should have been ruled out and Wolves awarded a goal-line drop out.
He said: “I've seen tries given by the video ref for the brush or downward pressure that Richard Mathers had on that first try for Leeds.
“That would have been given as a try if he had been the attacking player so therefore it should have been given as no try when it was a downward pressure.
“Whether he was trying to scoop it up or not, there was still downward pressure on it.”
Smith is also dead against the Rugby Football League's push to implement video technology across the board rather than only in televised games.
He added: “I'd rather go back to in-goal judges and the referee and we just accept decisions and move on.
“It's when you get three or four looks at them and then we're all still puzzled, that does more harm to the game.
“I'd much prefer us to have to handle and accept a human judgment on the day rather than using the technology and still getting it wrong.”
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