Australian Referees Echo Location Decision Impact Chart Kinetic System (AREDICKS)

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Objective –

To thoroughly test the efficacy of echo location in decision making for referees and television match officials with questionable eyesight and depth perception.

Procedure –

We, AREDICKS, will implement the system on a trial basis in 2015. The trials will be held at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney Australia and at MIB stadium in Melbourne during the Waratahs and Rebels home games against South African opposition, the Sharks and the Bulls respectively. The officials selected will be required to use the echo-location techniques detailed below when required to make decisions that materially affect the visiting teams’ chances of winning the game.

Technique A – When the visiting team appear to be at the start of an exciting attacking backline manoeuvre, the referee will close his eyes and make clicking sounds with his tongue and fingers. Based on the feedback he gets from these echo-location clicks, he will then rule that the pass was indeed forward.

Technique B – When the visiting team appear to have made a perfectly legitimate steal on the ground, the referee will again close his eyes and make the same clicking sounds with his tongue and fingers, based on the feedback he will then award a penalty to the home team.

Technique C – When the visiting team appear to have scored from a driving mall, the referee will refer the decision to the television match official after determining by means of a series of clicks that he cannot refute the try himself. The TMO will then close his eyes, and point his face at the television alongside him. He will then make a predetermined series of clicking sounds with his tongue in the direction of the television and based on his feedback will determine whether or not the ball has been grounded and whether or not the try should have been awarded.

Technique D – When the visiting team is suspected of foul play, the referee will refer the decision to the television match official after determining, by means of a series of clicks with his eyes closed, that he cannot issue a sanction of foul play himself. The TMO will then repeat the procedures per Technique C,and will determine  that foul play did indeed occur, and will recommend a yellow or red card.

Conclusion –

We, AREDICKS, will analyse the data after each game and thereafter a decision will be made, using a series of clicking sounds pointed at each other to judge each other’s’ facial expressions to determine whether or not the AREDICKS system should be implemented in all Australian refereeing training programs for officials with questionable eyesight and depth perception.

My team selection – Cell C Sharks vs The Hurricanes

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Being a confused selector is probably the toughest job in the world; just ask any badly programmed automatic gearbox. No matter how powerful the engine or aerodynamic the body, if the gearbox throws you into 6th gear when you should be in 2nd, you won’t be going anywhere fast…

So, in the interests of all involved I’ve decided to help the Sharks pick their team for this weekend’s game vs the Hurricanes.

To be clear, i have no qualifications as a team selector, nor do i pretend to know any more about anything than any body else. These are just my opinions so take them with however much salt you wish.

I’ve selected what I think will be the most defensively sound backline available and due to the lack of loose forward cover I’ve picked Andre Estherhuysen on the bench as cover. He has the size and speed to cover and did so last year with varying degrees of effectiveness. His defensive skills at 12 have been found wanting but that hasn’t been entirely his fault as there is no real backline defensive organiser in the mould of a Brad Barritt or Jaque Fourie.

Frans Steyn will have to take up the role of defensive organiser. Fred Zeilinga deserves another crack. He has been unfairly thrown into the fire, bypassing the frying pan completely. With the more experienced head of Frans outside him it should give him a bit more confidence and take some of the pressure off.

Conrad Hoffman has been the back up 9 to Reinach in the last few games, but he has been found wanting in all areas, therefore it is time to pick the youngster Ungerer and see how he performs.

The backline desperately needs a reshuffle with JP on the wing and Sithole at 13 which is without a doubt his best position. Odwa should continue at fullback in the absence of SP Marais and Jaco van Tonder.

As a side note, I would have selected Heimar Williams either as my starting 13 or on the bench in place of Waylon Murray whom I feel has added nothing to the squad all year.

15. Odwa Ndungane 14. JP Pietersen 13. Sbura Sithole 12. Francois Steyn 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Fred Zeilinga 9. Stefan Ungerer 8. Renaldo Bothma 7. Willem Alberts 6. Marcell Coetzee 5. Marko Wentzel 4. Etienne Oosthuisen 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Bismarck du Plessis 1. Beast Mtawarira 16. Kyle Cooper / Franco Marais 17. Lourens Adriaandse 18. Dale Chadwick 19. Mouritz Botha 20. Andre Estherhuisen 21. Conrad Hoffman 22. Lionel Cronje 23. Waylon Murray

All That Glitters

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Many years ago I accompanied my aunt, uncle and cousins from Johannesburg on one of their holidays to the KZN South Coast. These holidays were always fun and we got up to the usual mischief kids get up to.

In previous years my uncle had always brought down his Land Cruiser bakkie. It was very uncomfortable. We kids had to sit in the back on small camping chairs, pillows or the floor if none of the former were available. The glutes took a good bashing thanks to the rather unsophisticated suspension and no-nonsense toughness that is inherent in all Land Cruisers (I am a big fan of that no-nonsense toughness, as you may know).

That year however I learned that he’d sold his Land Cruiser and bought a brand new sparkling double cab.

We set off for a day of jet-skiing on the river in the double-cab in moderate comfort; we had seats to sit on and everything. “Good job uncle” I thought as we thundered along to our destination a lot quicker than the Land Cruiser would ever have managed.

We had a great time zooming about on the jet-ski and lost track of time. Time was then brought back into sharp focus when we noticed the tide coming in and realised it was time to get the jet-ski out of the water, and so we encountered the first problem with the sparkly new double cab. For all its sparkliness, it simply couldn’t get the jet-ski and trailer out of the water. There was no traction.

Disaster was avoided thanks to an old Land Rover that appeared to live at the beach. It only had reverse gear, but still had 4×4 and front diff-lock. It pulled the double cab, trailer and jet-ski out of the water with little trouble.

The next time I saw that uncle he’d traded the double-cab in for another Land Cruiser.

This year Gary Gold joined the Sharks with much fanfare after the untimely and unexpected departure of Jake the Snake White. He and the Sharks publicity machine promised a new attacking team. He said the Sharks would focus on being entertaining and that they would score lots of tries!

So in the pre-season that is what they did. They tossed out all of the pragmatic no-nonsense toughness that Jake had tried to instil and instead went about developing a sparkly glittering attack that was supposed to score lots of tries, win games and ultimately win the tournament, making us all happy and content.

Only, like the fancy double-cab, the Sharks didn’t have the necessary tools in their squad to do that. For many years the Sharks method has been a simple one, uncompromising brutal defence, a solid set piece, solid kicking game and lethal counter-attack. The squad was, in effect, like a reliable old Land Cruiser, it might not get you there fast, but it will get you there and back.

Gary Gold and company then asked it to be a Corvette. Only problem was, all the underpinnings, the unsophisticated suspension and big solid chunk of a straight six engine remained. You can’t bolt a Corvette body onto a Land Cruiser and expect it to be a racing car all of a sudden. It will fail miserably, and that is what has happened to the Sharks. They haven’t scored all those tries that they promised, in fact they’ve looked even more one-dimensional, and their once vaunted uncompromisingly brutal defence seems to have been forgotten and they now have the structural rigidity of melted cheese.

They are a Land Cruiser trying to be a Corvette, and they’ve realised this simply cannot work, and so they’re now lost, with no idea what they’re actually supposed to be. I only hope that, like my uncle, they realise their mistake and learn their lessons well. Change is all well and good, but change needs to be planned, and managed. You cannot ignore what your strengths are and play to your weakness, which is just foolish.