Sydney Roosters' coach backs NRL referees

Darren Walton
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is urging besieged referees to take charge of the NRL finals

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is urging besieged referees to take charge of the NRL finals series amid calls for a bunker overhaul.

Robinson has no problem with the bunker system and remains a fan of on-field match officials making the big calls rather than relying too heavily on video replays.

"The bunker's an aid. It helps in decisions. The touch judges help in decisions. But the head referee, he's in charge," Robinson said on Thursday.

A spate of contentious decisions from both referees and the bunker during week one of the finals has shone the spotlight on officials rather than the game itself - and that irks Robinson.

The premiership-winning mentor doesn't agree with handing the bunker more power, or having referees sending more decisions upstairs without signalling try or no try, insisting 50-50 calls will always go both ways regardless of who makes them.

"Where I stand at the moment is I like dominant referees, the confidence they get from that," he said.

"And that's how you grow the best referees, allowing them to make decisions and make calls. We want referees with the confidence to make calls.

"As an example, if you've got Johnathan Thurston or Mitchell Pearce or Cooper Cronk, they don't hesitate at critical moments.

"They're the ones who have got to make big decisions and referees are no different.

"If you start taking away (in-goal) decisions, you will get referees who start to hesitate on other decisions, which you don't want."

Robinson says debate around bunker tweaks should be left for the off-season, but he believes the system is so far serving its purpose of creating greater analysis.

"We're reviewing more than we've ever reviewed before because we can, because there's great technology," he said.

"Television stations have got better technology again as well so we're all becoming experts in that area, but there are 50-50s.

"There's things that we're going to debate and we've got to relax on the bunker when it comes to those decisions.

"I could say black and you could say white and that's going to continue in sport. That's the beauty of sport.

"You can't blame that all on the bunker."

While Robinson is mostly comfortable with the current bunker system, he would like to see television match officials intervene on offside plays.

"The technology should be there for offsides," he said.

"It's there. I think they need to bring that in."

Robinson's support of referees making the big calls comes after he was fined $20,000 last year for claiming the bunker was making rugby league "soft" in the bitter aftermath to the Roosters' Anzac Day loss to St George Illawarra..