From what I observed in Round 21, it was collectively a good performance all round from the referees, with only the one effort from Simpkins, bringing the marks down. I was really impressed by the overall outcome from the referees.
Now from that, the bar has been raised to a new level. The referees have to surpass that and raise it again. However, I would say that Round 22 has seen a dip in form from the collective point of view with only a couple of individuals showing how good they were.
The referees are very much like players. They are rated on form, they get criticised if they don�t perform and can suffer the axe as well.
The last round saw Shayne Hayne get a ticket to Premier League and Ben Cummins once again given the job of taking a First Grade appointment. It was long overdue in my opinion as I rate Cummins as one of the finest young referees running around at the moment.
Steve Clark: Eels v Dragons
Clark�s efforts over recent weeks have been impressive. His consistency has set him apart and has been going great guns.
However this game I feel he lacked a certain element of what has been the better part of his game; control. There were a total of 20 penalties blown for this game. Clark was not at fault mainly due to the Dragons poor discipline and lack of self control.
Clark�s technical game was good but I feel he was a bit whistle happy at times and could have utilised a bit more �tough love� on the players.
He sin binned Danny Wicks late in the game for repeated infringements. Wicks I feel was hard done by seeing the side itself and not necessarily him that was the problem
Overall I would say his technical game was good but I feel he needs to improve on other areas for next week
Jason Robinson: Warriors v Sharks
�Robbo� is no doubt a good referee but his consistency is the big problem. He may put on a good effort one week and come out the next and have a below average game.
This was a scrap affair to say the least. Conditions were not available for an open game. Rain was teeming down all night. That should not take away from the referee his responsibility to make the right calls and control a good game.
Some questionable calls made this a more dour affair than it was. I feel if Robinson was more in command of his control and positioning, he could have made this game at least watchable.
Overall, I reckon this man has the tools to be a good ref. But knowing how to use those tools is another thing. More work at training on concentration would be in order.
Sean Hampstead: Storm v Tigers
Hampstead continues his recent guide of promising to deliver a great performance and yet, the end result does not indicate the pre match billing. There is an old saying, �potential and a dollar and 20 cents will get you a cup of coffee�.
I feel his concentration and control has been waning lately and I worry about that because he is regarded by many as the number one man on campus.
Two blatant forward passes in the one movement, one by Matt Geyer and another by Ryan Hoffman, were not picked up by him, or the touch judge Russell Turner which led to Steve Turner�s first four pointer. That is absolutely unacceptable and my confidence to call him number one is down.
Overall, I would say maybe a week in Premier League may recharge his batteries. The ruling on those passes may not have been the separator between the sides but something like that could prove to be in future games.
Paul Simpkins: Cowboys v Bulldogs
Simpkins is another one of those breed who has the fancy cover but when you open the box up, you may not like what you see.
Simpkins� game against Brisbane was down by his standards. He picked that up the past round. Although he made a couple of �iffy� calls, I feel this was a level above what he did previous.
Strong on the whistle, technically sound on his signals and I feel he is beginning to regain some of that confidence that has been lacking lately.
Overall I would say he still has a way to go to get back to where he was. But if he builds on this performance, you never know what may happen.
Gavin Badger: Raiders v Broncos
�Badge� is one of those referees who are threatening the big three in Simpkins, Hampstead and Clark. His whistle is impressive and has confidence in himself.
One of the things I have been critical of him in recent games is his positioning. He isn�t the tallest bloke running around so he must make himself known because I have noticed he tends to get lost in the line a little bit.
Whilst the result isn�t exactly what I was hoping for, I can say I was happy with �Badge�s� performance. I noticed where he was on the field and he certainly was coming across as being in control and confident in his calls.
Overall, I would say whatever it is he is doing at training, keep it up. He is on the right path. However, complacency is not something he needs, which can happen if a referee is improving.
Tony Archer: Roosters v Knights
This was one of Archer�s better games. That whistle of his will forever and a day be a burr on my saddle but if his games are like what he has been producing lately, then I can forgive for that.
Positioning wise, he was on song. The confidence in his calls was good, and his signals have been picking up lately which is a good thing for someone whose whistle tone can be difficult to understand.
Overall, I would say this was probably the best of the round so far. But as I said before, keep raising the bar. If you stand still long enough, opportunities will pass you by. So keep moving forward
Ben Cummins: Rabbitohs v Penrith
I have this feeling that this bloke will be the future of the referees. He is young, has controlled a few big games in his career so far and the technical aspects of his game impress me.
This was a game which wasn�t really given a big billing in the importance stakes in the context of the round. That can sometimes have an effect on how the referee is assessed or how he is perceived by the players.
Signal wise, he was good. He has an excellent whistle and he put himself in the right spots to make the right calls.
Overall, he was good in what wasn�t the most spectacular of games. The real litmus test for Cummins lies for when he is handed a game that has interest in the public eye. For example, a game which features two teams in the top 8.
He has cut his teeth, now I say throw him in the deep end to find out whether he sinks or swims. Then we can get a real indication of his resolve and ability.