Match officials must step up: Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Match officials must step up: Henjak

By Wayne Heming 26/08/2010 04:00:23 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak has put more heat on NRL match officials, urging them to "step up a level" as finals spots are sorted out in the next 10 days.

"There's a lot of concerns with the officials at the moment," said Henjak, whose eighth-placed Broncos meet the seventh-placed Warriors in Auckland on Friday night.

"I keep seeing them having more and more influence on the result and I think that should be left to the players.

"Teams are so close, games are so tight and momentum is such an important thing, penalties that are given that probably shouldn't be given, play a massive part.

"Referees and video referee's play a huge role, especially at this time of year.

Henjak says has told his players they must step up against the Warriors and he wants to see match officials do the same in all matches as the premiership is decided.

"Like the players, they need to get it right," he said.

"Just as the players do at this time of year, everyone has to step up to another level and the officials are no different."

Match officials have been under the spotlight in recent weeks, most notably when the game's former No.1 referee Bill Harrigan was dumped from video referee duties for a week following a glaring blunder.

Meanwhile, Henjak said his team needed to silence those constantly pushing the line they can't win without captain Darren Lockyer.

"There's a lot of doom and gloom about us at the moment with Locky being out but the players don't seem to be fazed by it," he said.

"They're still in good spirits and hopefully they have enough confidence and self belief to get a really big job done on Friday."

Newcastle exposed Brisbane up the middle last weekend, an area the big and physical Warriors also like to exploit.

"I don't think the loss (to Newcastle) was attributable to Darren not being their last weekend," said Henjak, who has called on his players to toughen up or forget about the finals.

"For 25 minutes we were really solid in the middle and had the better of field position and momentum.

"We got a few tough decisions against us and we didn't handle that bit of adversity too well."

Conditions are likely to be rainy and slippery, which Henjak said put the emphasis on high completion rates, a good kick and chase game and good field position.

He said the key, however, would be to defend the middle third of the field like a fortress because that's where the Warriors liked to play.

"We have to limit their off-loads and second phase footy to give ourselves a chance," said Henjak, adding the NRL could not have scripted the final rounds any better.

"There's a lot pressure on and teams have had to go up to the next level, there's still a lot of twists and turns to come yet," he said.

"Some teams that were in really good and favourites to win the premiership are showing signs of dropping form, the Roosters and ourselves being two of them.

"If you going to be in contention, you certainly have to start putting it together now."

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