Endacott Praises Canterbury Refs For Finals Display
The top four Canterbury Rugby League premiers teams turned on a couple of absolute thrillers in Saturday’s finals double-header, but Frank Endacott said the standout feature of a tremendous day out at Murphy Park was the standard of the refereeing.
Gary Smallridge controlled Papanui Tigers’ 32-24 of Celebration Lions in the minor semi-final, while Jason Wilson had the whistle for Hornby Panthers’ stirring 22-14 defeat of Linwood Keas in the major semi.
“I hope they were assessed on the day because they would have got a high rating – they were excellent,” Endacott raved.
“I noticed even the guys from the losing teams went up and shook hands with the refs, and when you see that you know they’ve had a good game – and that’s good for the game.”
With seasons on the line and grand final spots at stake, there was plenty of feeling in both games and crucial calls to be made.
But Smallridge and Wilson both produced cool-headed, authoritative displays in the middle, which Endacott believes contributed heavily to two wonderful exhibitions of finals rugby league.
“They’ve got a tough job, but all credit to the two that controlled the games on Saturday.
“They were two crunch games, I thought all four teams played really, really well in good spirits, and that was because of the good refereeing on the day.
The perpetual scrutiny referees at the elite level are under – with the NRL’s officials currently going through a particularly rough patch with the game’s media and fans – often trickles down to grassroots football, and Endacott said any comparison is unfair.
“(Public criticism of NRL referees affects attitudes to grassroots level referees) without a doubt. And you look at the Bunker and all the money (the NRL) has put into it, and they still get it wrong.
“It is frustrating – you’ve only got to look at Ricky Stuart the other day – but that’s all part and parcel of it.
“Referees are always going to make mistakes, the same as players and coaches. In fact, the referees make more mistakes than players do, by far.
“Credit to the guys that have carried on (with refereeing in Canterbury).
“There have been a few that have left, and they’ve got their own reasons for that, but to see guys go and do as good as they are is great – and those two on Saturday were absolutely superb.”