So apparently the Captain’s Challenge is now a thing in the NRL. Yes, Cam Smith can actually assume his role as a part time referee (just kidding Cam)
We saw it trialed in the pre-season during the Charity Shield game and the All stars game. I for one, applaud the NRL for (some might say FINALLY) taking this step. We see the players (those actually closest to the action in real time) having the ability to question calls in others sports like tennis, cricket and soccer for example, so why not put some control in the hands of the NRL players?
How will it work? Well only the captain (of the teams playing, not our Captain on the Armchair Champs) or co-captain or their nominee if they aren’t on the field can query a call. The only decisions that can be challenged are those which result in a re-start of play – “play-on” situations will not be eligible. So only where a kick off, drop out, scrum or restart is the result can the play be challenged. Finally, teams will only have one unsuccessful challenge per game so if you blow it, you’re done.I can’t say if the Captain’s Challenge will be successful, but hats off to the NRL for listening to fans, recognising that the refs and the bunker won’t always get it right and that the players deserve some voice here.
What are the down sides? Time wasting has been a concern and referees stopping player chat is annoying to watch. Shutting players down when they have a legitimate issue with a bodgy call is as bad to watch and players chirping at refs just to waste time. I think the NRL has a good blend here to hopefully avoid some howlers this season. If it saves one game from being ruined, then it will be a good addition to Sheriff’s favourite winter code.What do you think Champions?