The Sharks legend insisted the NRL must limit the Bunker to ruling on tries and hand authority back to the referee.
Phil Gould was even more scathing in his assessment of the Bunker, declaring the $2 million-a-year initiative would “end up destroying this game”.
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The condemnation of the Bunker followed the chaos that transpired during the Rabbitohs‘ 30-14 win over the Roosters in Sunday’s elimination final at Allianz Stadium, which featured a record seven sin-bins.
“I think the Bunker should be only brought (in) for try-scoring opportunities. The referee needs to take control of the game. Give the referee control of the game back,” Gallen said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
Sydney Morning Herald reporter Michael Chammas challenged Gallen.
“So you’re not going to complain then when we get a guy, swinging arm, knocks him out, the referee misses it —,” Chammas said.
“The match review committee gets him anyway,” Gallen quipped.
“So you’re happy for (an) on-field play-on?” Chammas replied.
“Yes, and we’ve got to accept it,” Gallen said.
“We’ve got to accept the referees are human beings. They may make mistakes throughout the course of play.”
Chammas continued to prod.
“This is rugby league,” he said.
“We don’t accept things in rugby league.”
“Well we have to,” Gallen shot back.
“Do we want this?
“Besides Origin, (the Roosters-Rabbitohs rivalry) is one of the biggest rivalries in Australian sport, and we saw absolute rot on the field (on Sunday). It wasn’t good footy played at all.”
Three of the seven sin-bins were enforced in the opening 20 minutes, with Victor Radley the first man given his marching orders after the Roosters lock punched Rabbitohs winger Taane Milne in the head during an off-the-ball wrestle.
Radley and Milne made two trips to the sin bin during the match, while Tevita Tatola, Tom Burgess and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves were also ordered off.
“People are spraying the referees and getting stuck into the referees. I don’t think the referee lost too much control, to be honest,” Gallen added.
“What can he do when a player’s laying down and the Bunker gets involved?
“The Bunker shouldn’t get involved in general play. Let the referee take some control and take some onus of the game … it’s like they’re not controlling it anymore … if the referee and the touch judges don’t see anything wrong with the tackle, the game should flow. Let the game play on.”
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Gould backed up Gallen.
“I’ve been saying for 10 years that the Bunker was the thin end of a wedge that would end up destroying this game,” Gould said.
“You get a reaction like we have to HIA (head injury assessment) and concussion and the way we’re treating those and you get an oversensitive refereeing group … there’s obviously directions to the match review committee and to the Bunker on the way they think this game should be officiated and it results in the frustration and everything that we saw (in Sunday’s elimination final).
“I saw very, very few incidents in that game that should warrant a sin-bin, but from the time they sent Victor Radley off in the first three minutes with an absolutely innocuous event the standard was set, and they decided that they would just forge on with it for the rest of the game to get that result.
“To me (that) is an embarrassment to our code. Our code has embarrassed us a number of times over the last few seasons, but that was culminating to where I always feared it would get to. That was not a game of football. It was not a great advertisement of our game.”
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