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Respect the whistle: Refs call for understanding from fans

Thursday 14 March 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Respect the whistle: Refs call for understanding from fans
The referee coordinator for the Cook Islands Rugby League Association Lualua Tua-Trood, middle, with referees Tua Manea and Patricia Taea. Solomone Taukei/ 24031330

Cook Islands Rugby League referees face criticism from fans despite lacking technology and working hard to ensure fair play, and the association is calling for more understanding and potential new referees.

Every weekend, rugby league fans enjoy thrilling displays of the sport, but often the hard work of the game’s committees and referees is overlooked. These individuals play a crucial role in managing the games professionally.

Despite their efforts, referees sometimes face backlash from the public and teams when calls don’t go their way.

However, fans are being reminded to understand the challenging circumstances referees are placed under.

In an interview with Cook Islands News, Lualua Tua-Trood, the referee coordinator for the Cook Islands Rugby League Association, shed light on the matter.

He emphasised that decisions are made based on what referees see, and they work in collaboration with the sideline referees to ensure accuracy.

Unlike in professional league competitions like the NRL, they lack the technology to review decisions, making their job even more demanding.

“Our calls are made from what we see, and we communicate with sideline referees to ensure decisions are the best ones," explained Tua-Trood.

“Without technology to aid us, we rely on our judgment, and it’s not always easy.”

Tua-Trood also highlighted the challenges referees face within their communities, where criticism is sometimes levelled against them.

This backlash can deter potential referees from coming forward and contributing to the improvement of rugby league in Rarotonga, he said.

“In our communities, referees can face criticism, which can be challenging,” said Tua-Trood. “It’s important for those who question our calls to understand the difficulties we encounter and to support us in improving the standard of rugby league.”

Tua-Trood extended an open invitation to individuals who are potential referees to join the Cook Islands Rugby League and Referees Association even as volunteers or linesman. By working together, he said the standard of refereeing and rugby league as a whole can be elevated.

“Those who question our decisions are welcome to come forward and work with us,” he said. “Together, we can enhance the quality of the sport and ensure fairness for all teams and players.”

There are calls for the fans, teams, and supporters to be more educated about the challenges referees face. While it’s natural to feel disappointed when decisions don’t favour one’s team, fans are being reminded to remember that referees are doing their best under challenging circumstances.