World Cup to ditch Bunker in back to basics officiating

World Cup officials will go back to basics at the end-of-season tournament, stripping back the use of video technology and reverting to just one referee on the field.

Following a week-long storm about the standard of NRL refereeing and the $2 million Bunker after the controversial finals exits of the Sea Eagles and Sharks, rugby league's showpiece tournament is set to wind back the clock with how games are officiated.

The Bunker won't be used at the World Cup, partly owing to the logistics and cost of installing the required technology to service games at host venues such as Port Moresby, Darwin and Cairns.

It means a travelling video referee will be at the grounds for all World Cup fixtures, akin to the NRL's procedure before implementing the much debated Bunker for the start of the 2016 season.

And the eye in the sky will complement just one on-field official who will be charged with controlling a match as per the rules for internationals, a major change to the two whistleblowers used at every NRL match.

The protocol drew rave reviews during the last World Cup - won by Australia in Britain in 2013 - and will no doubt prompt discussion about which system produces a better product.

Bulldogs-bound prop Aaron Woods, who was on Wednesday confirmed as the captain of a Prime Minister's XIII to play a Papua New Guinea Prime Minister's XIII on Saturday week, went into bat for the men in the middle after a turbulent week. And he said he would welcome the change to one referee rather than a lead official and an assistant.

"I like that one," Woods said. "Sometimes you get caught up with the [pocket] ref behind you. One ref's enough for me. I wouldn't want to be a ref, it's one of the toughest gigs in the world but they've got to do it. You've just got to cop it on the chin because it's not a good look if we keep bagging the officials because they're the ones that control the game.

"It was good to see Toddy [NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg] stamp his foot down ... I applaud them [refs] for making a decision on the spot. If it's wrong it's wrong and if it's right it's right but at least they had the balls to make a decision."

Cronulla have been slugged with a $30,000 breach notice for coach Shane Flanagan's stinging comments after his side's one-point extra-time loss to the Cowboys, a sanction that also took into account a video interview for Sharks members and a website article which attributed a dip in NRL crowds to the refereeing.

Manly are considering appealing a $20,000 fine imposed for coach Trent Barrett's spray at two Bunker decisions in the Sea Eagles' loss to the Panthers.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga implored those in the game to remember "how lucky we are to still be involved with it". "We've got to be very careful in how we practise our communication," Meninga said. "We had such a great weekend of rugby league, but the papers this week and the media this week is just talking about the referees' performance and now the fines that have been imposed."

This story World Cup to ditch Bunker in back to basics officiating first appeared on Brisbane Times.