Mr. Kelvin Deaker.
I didn't immediately recognise Mr. Deaker, so had to wait until about 20 minutes until the commentators mentioned his name.
In that time we had a penalty for Troy Flavell's head highish tackle, advantage for an early tackle, and a free kick for one scrum not waiting for the call to engage.
Not that Mr. Deaker helps by using the crouch and hold... (wait an excruciating length of time)...engage technique!
We all know that the front rows really want to crash into each other as hard and fast as they can. You don't think those guys were born with "no neck" do you?
Really, the crouch (1/2 second pause) engage is the best method. We have been brought up (well some of us dragged up) with the "ready, set, go!" start. Ah yes the fun of the primary school athletics day.
Is this wealth of experience to stand for naught? Can the rugby world learn nothing from the sociologist? Do you really think that one person with a whistle and an eighty minute agenda can do anything against 15 - 20 years of conditioning. I don't think so.
Ready? Crouch. Engage! Is this too much to ask?
Mr. Deaker you have got to work "with" front rowers! Think "bullock team" - strong, sturdy, reliable... but not known for winning Rhode scholarships!
Never mind! At least two people on the field knew how to work with the Referee. Ai'i stabbed at a drop kick, to earn the Blues a penalty kick. And Troy Flavell proved that if there's ever an opportunity, then he's willing to take it - even if it only to give away a penalty!
My advice to Troy is the same as Toddy's, keep up the good work!
Finally for the first half, we had indecision over the first Blues' try. The call for the Video Ref, must have caught him making a coffee. It was over a minute before the try was given.
It was a toughie. From the first angle you could see that the ground had been made, but not if the ball was held up by a hand or boot. In the second shot you couldn't tell whether the ball was over the line or not, but it clearly showed that there was no defender in position to get a foot or hand in the way. Unless someone had dropped one in a previous ruck! Of course that wouldn't count, as any dismembered limb should be on the side line in the blood bin!
So any normal person would have been able to put these two pieces of info together: a) Over the line, b) Nothing between ball and ground.
Sounds like a try to me! And indeed the Video Ref reached this decision as well, about 30 seconds after the rest of us had!
Maybe that Referee simply wasn't used to watching games on television. Hopefully with experience, he will get used to it.
In the second half, the decisions got a bit easier for Mr. Deaker. Things were a bit more desperate for the Blues and they muffed a few more opportunities. But hell, so did the Red and Blacks.
One of the continuing mysteries is the new tackle ball rule. I may have to do a bit of reading of the rules - yes, I am getting desperate!
The last two things relate to it. Craig Dowd penalised for not entering from behind the last feet. He said that he was the tackler, and I think that the replay suggested that he was.
Dallas Seymour got pinged for being too fast on his feet. Mr. Deaker can't have seen him start after the ball, because Seymour was well behind the last foot.
Not the best outing for Mr. Deaker, but at least he's better than an English ref, so there is still hope.
So, I guess that we will just have to be happy with a win against the Blues!
GO YOU GOOD THINGS!!!!