Martin Devlin: Warriors CEO asking fans to dress as referees could backfire

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 2 August 2019, 10:55AM

It sounded like a plan. But as the week unfolded, I bet he's now thinking I hope it falls through.

I'm talking Warriors CEO Cameron George's plea for fans to come to the game tonight dressed as refs and carrying whistles.

When he got off the plane from Sydney last Sunday, livid like anyone who watched the Parramatta game from a Warriors perspective, his suggestion seemed harmless, a prank, a bit of fun to razz the refs that bore no malicious intent.

A week later, it's simply a bad idea and one that the club, if indeed it does happen to  any extent, will need to somehow thoroughly control. Fact is the club is getting routinely stiffed by the refs although they aren't the only ones saying this (ref: Cowboys coach Paul Green after last nights loss to the Tigers).

Fact also is that, unbeknown to Cameron, the timing  couldn't have been worse after two other stories emerged from the weekend both involving vicious assaults on local Kiwi club refs.

Now obviously there's no connection between that and his idea but it immediately brought  the abuse angle into the story which is exactly what the CEO didn't need. I guess the major problem they might have tonight is attempting to control the line where getting up the officials could turn into ugly uninvited abuse.

We'd all like to think that every spectator innately knows where such boundaries lie, but we also know the truth is far from it. A bit of banter is fine, a whole heap of foul language personally directed would be an embarrassment.

In the end it's the sort of potential distraction that if it backfired would only do more damage to a team whose season's already on the ropes. The most important thing from tonight is not a fair suck of the sav from the refs, it's winning. It's gaining 2 points and clinging on to an ever diminishing chance of making the Top 8. 

If there's a moral to this story it might simply be that we all make mistakes, players, refs even CEO's. On Sunday it sounded like a plan. Five days later the new best plan sounds is that the first one doesn't happen.