Wayne Bennett: Scrap the bunker

Long-time NRL mentor Wayne Bennett has made a sensational call for the NRL to scrap the much-vaunted video review Bunker in a bid to improve the game.

Brisbane Broncos head coach Wayne Bennett has said that the game should scrap video technology from NRL refereeing decisions.

The officiating of the game has under fire again recently and Bennett, a coach with over 40 years of experience, has claimed the easiest way to improve the effectiveness of television match official would be to scrap it altogether. 

Speaking ahead of his side’s do-or-die week two finals clash with the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium, Bennett advocated for the scrapping of the NRL bunker as well as a move back to a lone referee in charge of each NRL game. He also empathised with fellow coaches Trent Barrett of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and Shane Flanagan of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, who copped fines and breach notices in the wake of their criticism of the review process and match officials from week one of the finals, where both their sides were sensationally dumped.

Time to ‘grow up’

The fines, totalling $50,000 for the pair, came with a stern proclamation from NRL supremo Todd Greenberg that the game needed to “grow up” and treat match officials with respect. Indeed, even RealSport writers have penned their agreement that the bashing of match officials, particularly over social media needed to stop for the good of the game.

Bennett’s Broncos face the Panthers, the side who came out on top over the Sea Eagles last week, in a sudden death clash at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night and the long-time coach was quick to back Barrett and Flanagan.

“It’s a difficult one,” said Bennett. “It is pretty unfair on the coaches because their season is finished and they are in a pretty bad emotional state.

“Then they go to a press conference and are asked about the referees — it’s pretty hard not to say what you really think.

“I have a lot of empathy for them. It’s the last place you want to be.”

Both sides of the argument

Bennett did caveat his empathy for the Sharks and Sea Eagles coaches by saying he understood why Greenberg and the NRL would leap to the protection of match officials. But he was also firm in his belief that the code as a whole would benefit from a drop in the reliance on technology while saying have a second referee isn’t helpful.

“I would scrap the bunker, I would do it tomorrow. I think we need less technology than more. I hope we go that way in the future.

“I have been watching a fair bit of English football and they do a good job with one ref. Everyone is looking for perfection all the time now, lets just get on with life.”

Does Wayne Bennett have a point? Should the NRL Bunker be scrapped? Is the game too reliant on technology? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.