1 Head Better Than 2?

There was a lot of questions asked over in Australia as to why two on field referees would not be used for The World Cup, like in the NRL. The international rules require only one referee present on the field. Over the course of Round 1 I heard the words, especially from the Australian commentary team, "not many penalties so far, it's allowing the game to flow, probably down to the fact we have one referee". Penalties often take a lot of momentum out of the game and make it feel very stop start at times.

This got me thinking, are there really that many more penalties given with twice the amount of on field officials? If so then why.
For those people that don't follow Super League, Super League is always played with one referee, people complain about big things being missed in the game, or being called the wrong way. Prompting the "we should have two referees like the NRL" Conversation, meanwhile in the NRL most people hate having two officials and prefer the one.

So i did some comparison work, in the first round of the NRL there was a grand total of 98 penalties given over 8 games, this averages out at 12.25 penalties per game. Whereas in round 1 of the World Cup there was a total of 78 penalties across seven games, this works out at 11.14 penalties per game. This means that the penalty count works out lower (bare in mind there is only 7 games per round of The World Cup) with just the one match official on field.

I personally think that two referees on field is a good idea, sometimes important decisions for or against made by 1 official are called wrong, because there is so much to monitor on field. It's hard to expect just one official being able to keep an eye on 26 individual players at a time. The stats do back up the fact that one referee allows the game to flow better, is this down to two referees being too strict, or one referee being to lenient. Unfortunately it looks to be the strictness of two officials, I didn't see many missed calls, I saw a few bad ones but overall round 1's games were reffed well.

Referees get a hard wrap from fans and players alike after every match. To conclude I think the way forward is definitely one referee, it allows the game to flow better, minimal bad calls and less chance of a referee getting in the way, like we saw in the NRL grand final.



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