Sport

Exciting Test, but the plus was one referee

Kangaroos debutant Shannon Boyd runs at Kiwis Isaac Luke and Kevin Proctor during the trans-Tasman Test at nib Stadium in Perth.
Kangaroos debutant Shannon Boyd runs at Kiwis Isaac Luke and Kevin Proctor during the trans-Tasman Test at nib Stadium in Perth. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

SATURDAY'S record-breaking trans-Tasman Test in Perth was by no means a classic, but the contest provided plenty of enjoyment for Aussie fans and a reassuring glimpse into the future.

Sure, the Kiwis were disappointing in the 26-6 loss to the Kangaroos, but history tells us they will be much better once the Four Nations tournament gets under way. But the Aussies were good, and will also improve as action heats up over the next five weeks.

What really impressed about the Kangaroos was the manner in which they handled, and tamed, the much-vaunted Kiwi pack. Let's not forget that on the back of their forwards the Kiwis had won three of the past four Tests between the two countries, and are reigning World Cup and Four Nations champs.

Yet with no Parker, Gallen, Woods, Myles, Tamou or Papalii, the new-look Kangaroos pack was exceptional. And giant debutant Shannon Boyd led the assault, with the Test rookie back row of Matt Gillett, Boyd Cordner and Trent Merrin terrific.

Australia's other two debutants, Valentine Holmes and Tyson Frizell, also made eye-catching entries to the international arena and helped confirm the widely held belief that the Kangaroos could field a second-string Test team and still be competitive.

But while the performance of Australia's Test team - under what could justifiably be considered a new regime - was encouraging, for me the performance of referee Matt Cecchin was the highlight.

The chief KPI of a good referee should be the fact he is seen but not heard. And if no one - coaches, players, commentators or fans - whinges about his performance, he has done his job.

Cecchin was by no means perfect. Early on he incorrectly ruled on a ball strip against Darius Boyd and then missed a knock-on from Josh Dugan, but no great advantage was gained by either team.

What impressed about his refereeing was his decisive decision-making, which on the majority of occasions was spot on. Twice he ruled correctly on loose carries and twice on players milking penalties in the play the ball, two of the most contentious and annoying issues in the game.

And, he did it on his own. Cecchin had no one in his ear blabbing away, trying to enforce their judgment on the flow of the game. The entire responsibility was his, and as a result his decisions were concise and confident, and almost always correct.

The one-referee structure will, thankfully, operate for the entirety of the Four Nations tournament. If only the powers-that-be had the gumption to return it to the NRL.

Other aspects of interest from the trans-Tasman Test were the 20,282 crowd, a record for a rugby league match in Perth; the continued ill-discipline of the Kiwis, in particular serial offender Jared Waerea-Hargreaves; and another lacklustre display from Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson who, for some inexplicable reason, refuses to run the ball.

But, mark my words, the Kiwis will be much tougher when they next play Australia, in Coventry on November 5.

Topics:  bunker kangaroos kiwis nrl referees tony durkin


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

EXPLAINED: Bushfire emergency terms broken down

CONCERN BUT NO PANIC: A huge bushfire impacts Peregian Springs and Coolum residents as the flames threaten their homes. The fire burnt over 500 hectares and dozens of emergency crews were deployed throughout the night. Firemen battle the heat and the blaze.

Emergency alerts and lingo in layman's terms

Man receives head injury in car, bicycle crash

RACQ Careflight Rescue helicopter, generic. Photo Contributed

Man airlifted to hospital after motorway collision

Inside the fire zone: Coolum blaze devastation

Wildlife rescue workers go looking for injured wildlife

Local Partners

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

'LA LA Land? I only made it through 20 minutes.' Samuel L Jackson reveals his Oscars choices.

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Ipswich facing housing shortage: Property expert

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!