Posts Tagged ‘Bill Harrigan’

I hereby retire from reading the ramblings of idiots

I am officially retired from reading comments on sports websites. Unless you wish to become objectively stupider, or wish to have a brain aneurysm, I suggest you do the same.

Having been an avid reader (if this torture could ever be described as reading, or if those who do it to themselves could ever be avid) of the comments on the bottom of stories about sport in Australia I have at times found myself contemplating the kind of people there are in this world. What do they do, aside from blaming officials for everything that’s wrong with their sport and their lives? Is there more to life? Have they ever heard of happiness? The kind of existential questions clearly never considered by those who serially post (note how close that is to serial pest) on websites.

Life and sport governance is simple, they say, as are the rules. Why can’t we just go back to the good old days of having everything black and white? All this dastardly newfanglery has made my head ache and my balls itchy. Oh yeah, that’s the spot.

By the way, I know this might seem to tie in with the whole cyber bullying thing doing the rounds in the media at the moment, but it really wasn’t inspired by this. It’s quite coincidental, and was brought on by my hatred of stupid people.

The worst part about it all is that I feel like journalists cater to their throngs of commenting supporters who make them feel like they’re influencing the structures of governance with their ill-informed gripes about things that confuse and therefore anger them. They bash out the same old stuff each and every week, their keyboards groaning as they copy paste last week’s piece into a new document as a template.

Perhaps this lady has a clever web pseudonym and posts on Australian sports stories?

My formula for a rugby league story: Ref makes mistake. Ref therefore worst person in the history of the world. Get quotations from coach about how referees deserve a noose. Pander shamelessly to your idiot fans. Profit.

If “ref” doesn’t suit on one particular weekend, then substitute for David Gallop. Even better, write an open letter to David Gallop.

The Australian sports media has convinced me that open letters are the preferred medium of morons.

It does no one any favours, particularly intellectually. In fact, reading some publications’ coverage of rugby league would achieve similar levels of intellectual augmentation as running headfirst at a brick wall with a only saucepan to cushion the blow.

What really irks me is that people actually believe what they are reading.

As such, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions that have been bandied about by commenters in an attempt to prove that a) they are devoid of firing synapses in their cerebrum, and b) their suggestions are largely contradictory and/or meaningless. I shall not attempt to point out the folly or contradiction, as I trust readers of this to be able to do that themselves. A is for apple.

1. Fix the rulebook! All this screwing with the rules has created all these grey areas that no one, even the refs, understand anymore.

2. Blow more penalties! If someone is 1cm offside, there is no calling them out of the play. None of this “managing the game” bollocks, just blow the whistle.

3. Refs are ruining the game with their damn whistles! If they didn’t blow so many penalties, my lonely Friday nights spent with my two best mates, pizza and Tooheys, would be much more enjoyable. Plus, the less penalties they blow the more I can stand up and scream “Are you blind ref!?!?,” although I have been getting more noise complaints than usual recently… And yes, my two best mates are pizza and Tooheys, you read it right.

4. David Gallop is terrible, and don’t tell me otherwise! I don’t know the guy, I’ve never watched one of his press conferences, I never saw how he handled himself and the terrible positions he was put in by morons, but I have it on good information from my friend of a friend’s dog’s brother’s canary’s master’s owner’s sister-in-law that David Gallop is just awful at his job and should be blamed for every one of rugby league’s and my own problems. And even though he is no longer employed by the NRL or the independent whatsit, he’s still to blame for the fact my Weet-bix are soggy.

5. Replace all the refs, coaches, players, fans, administrators and toilet cleaners! Everyone needs to pack their bags.

6. As soon as we get sick of blaming Gallop, we can start to blame John Grant up in his ivory tower! Look at him, all the way up there. How the hell did he afford all that ivory?

7. AFL is better than our sport, so we should start to copy them! Short shorts, singlets, cappucinos, four goalposts. By gee, the grass looks a lot greener over there. Oh, that’s right, it’s really cold in Melbourne.

8. Players don’t make mistakes, people make mistakes! Players are heroes, not people. Coaches are often former players. Learn some respect, you stupid blogger!

9. Bill Harrigan! Rabble rabble rabble.

10. Everything keeps getting worse! Apparently this game is supposed to be professional, but I see no evidence of professionalism. Professional players? Professional players don’t get paid to shit in hallways. Referees now being professional? I spit on referees. Full time referee coaches? Not worth my time. Independent commission? I see no accountability. In fact, now that I mention accountability, no one is accountable for anything anymore. Except me behind my internet handle.

Anyway, I’m over it. I’m done with reading comments on sports stories unless they are hilarious and are about Scott Minto. There is a guy on Foxsports who does some rippers.

Finally, the commenter name of the week goes to: D Messenger of Referees are not real people! Well done, your stupidity is now enshrined in these hallowed chronicles.

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Stop hanging me out to dry, Bill!

I am aware that incorrect refereeing decisions are made every week in the NRL, AFL, Rugby Union and pretty much every other sport on earth where there are a set of rules officiated by third party officials. For years we were told as youngsters there was nothing we could do about it, and to be big boys and accept the decision and move on with our lives. In the NRL, it seems, no one was brought up with any spirit of fair play or respect for officials, and we are left in this ridiculous position of watching Bill Harrigan and his offsider (onsider?) Stuart Raper fronting up to the swarming journalists and telling them who made a wrong decision and why.

Journalistic dynamite.

None of the arguments I will make in this piece will be overly persuasive, and I put this down to the fact that everyone, and I mean all the stakeholders in football, has a different view of almost every single incident that happens in a football game. How different people’s views are depend a lot on the incident and their position in relation to the incident. NRL referees are paid to be a neutral observer in contest in which there is a lot at stake. In the NRL they are playing for sheep stations.

Like footballers, referees make mistakes in their trade. Footballers earn the ire of the supporters, predominantly the opposition’s supporters and sometimes their own whether they make mistakes or not. Referees seem to earn the ire of everyone, again whether they make mistakes or not. If one was to believe Brian Smith, his team has been hard done by by the officials every week of his 500 game coaching career. But you know what, I don’t believe Brian Smith. His players have not had to triumph in the face of officiating adversity every single time they take the park. And that fact that this man so vehemently believes this, and he is listened to and echoed by countless numbers of fans shows me that they just don’t get it.

Referees don’t have a vendetta on players, coaches or fans. They like the game they officiate and want it to be played attractively and fairly. Fairly. Fairly! They want the game to be fair! Get it? If we were to play under Brian Smith’s rules no one would watch, because the Roosters would get a penalty every ruck and no tries would ever be scored against them. Enforcing Brian Smith’s rules would be unfair.

The worst thing about all of this, though, is not that Brian Smith is listened to by fans, or that this culture is spreading throughout all clubs. No. The worst thing is that Bill Harrigan has decided to out all the referees that make mistakes, however small or large. The fact that Bill sees it fit to dignitfy this bullshit, and it is bullshit, with an “official response” (pardon the pun) is beyond ridiculous.

Not only that, but as a referee, I would hate having my boss nitpick over my performance every week in front of the entire media flock. Brian Smith doesn’t stand up at a press conference with a projector behind him and go over every mistake Mitchell Pearce made last week. Nor do the media expect him to. We shouldn’t then expect it of our referees. Leave the criticism to the critics, and have some solidarity within the organisation. I’m all for transparency, but thin skinned players and coaches don’t deserve Bill’s apologies with the way they go about things.

The only thing this achieves is making the coaches and players believe that their complaints have some validity. Yes, the referees make mistakes, but it is not for the referees boss to say whether this offside decision cost the Bulldogs the game. Leave that to Ray Warren, Phil Gould, Paul Kent, and people who comment on the Fox Sports website saying that the standard of refereeing is worse now than ever.

The coaches never stop telling the referees how they should get better. If I was Bill Harrigan and I had a press conference today, this is what I would say.

“If you, the coaches, think your team deserves to win the game then prove it. Play better than the opposition. Take the referees out of the game. When a decision is made, don’t cry about it blame it for a momentum shift. Have the self belief that you can defend your line better and score more tries than the opposition. Look to yourselves for answers. And don’t expect me to come out every week and dignify your whinging with a response. My refs cop more than you ever will.”

Do it Bill. I dare you.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair