V’landys: I won’t ’chicken out’ on ref switch
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has hit back at coaches amid criticism of the code's one-referee plan, saying he will not "chicken out" on making decisions that can help the NRL premiership.
V'landys has come under fire for the Project Apollo committee's recommendation to scrap two referees and instead deploy only one on-field match official for the NRL's planned return on May 28.
The ARLC boss will hold a press conference later on Thursday to explain the controversial return to one match official.
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Professional Rugby League Match Officials chairman Silvio Del Vecchio has blasted V'landys, claiming the whistleblowing body were not consulted before the one-referee proposal was tabled at a Project Apollo meeting last Friday.
Several NRL coaches, including Warriors mentor Steve Kearney, and players have also questioned the mid-season move to axe two referees.
But V'landys is standing his ground, insisting the code will not only save $3 million from the move, but will see other benefits with touch judges to be asked to play a more active role in ruck infringements.
"Everyone thought we would chicken out on the one ref - but I'm not going to chicken out," V'landys said.
"I've copped it from some coaches but we're pressing ahead with the decision.
"It's my job with the Commission to ensure nobody gets an edge or an advantage.
"The coaches' job is to get an edge and an advantage, so we are never going to agree.
"I take my hat off to the coaches, that's what they get paid to do, to get an edge and my job is to make sure the edge they get is within the rules."
V'landys believes the removal of the second referee can actually help officiating standards in the NRL premiership.
"The point the critics are missing are that the touch judges at the moment are casual employees, they are part-timers," he said.
"The second referee is now going to be running the touchlines, so they will be more experienced, more knowledgeable and they can control the ruck and the wrestle.
"The only difference is the second referee will be on the touchlines, not on the field.
"We need the touch judges to do more anyway. These are experienced referees, not touchies, so they will have a job to control the ruck and the wrestle.
"Realistically, we are losing one referee on the field, but gaining two more on the sidelines."