Ian Millward: Match officials need to develop more 'game sense'

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Millward keen on referee feedback

Castleford Tigers head coach Ian Millward believes match officials would benefit from increased dialogue with players and coaches.

He thinks greater communication will improve relationships and the overall standard of officiating.

"It will be to the detriment of the quality of the game if the referees are not up to the mark.

"Young referees need established first-grade players to give them feedback," he told the BBC Super League Show.

"It's game sense they [officials] need to be provided with, the rules are easy, they're black and white, but learning game sense is important in situations and I feel that's where we're missing the point.

"After coming back from Australia and the National Rugby League to here, I've found there is a real animosity from coaches toward the lack of and quality of feedback. I think that's a bridge we need to bring closer together."

Australia's NRL has appointed a prominent former coach in Daniel Anderson to undertake the guidance of its referees after Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper stood down following some high-profile errors from officials in 2012.

Among the most critical was an incident where Manly were awarded a try in the play-off preliminary final against North Queensland last season despite video analysis at the time that failed to spot a knock-on in the build-up.

Anderson, who coached at St Helens between 2005 and 2008 and the Exiles against England in 2012, met with the member clubs prior to the new campaign to address several issues.

The Rugby Football League has recently lost its figurehead in that role as Stuart Cummings, who was the match officials director and a conduit between coaches and officials, has departed, prompting a reshuffle of staff.

Technical assistant Jon Sharp and match officials coach Ian Smith have absorbed the responsibilities of that post, including discussions with coaches and liaison with clubs, an area former Saints and Wigan coach Millward is keen to develop in the future.

"We like to have reports so we can get some good feedback about our team and areas we need to improve," the 52-year-old Australian continued.

"We also want to give some feedback from our players to referees on areas that our players have thought about.

"For example, [Castleford second-row] Lee Gilmour, who is 34 years of age and has played international football, recently said the referee [in one game] was really quiet and it was hard to hear his calls in the tackle, and from that we conceded penalties."

Cas have been penalised by the RFL on several occasions this season, notably . Team-mates Weller Hauraki and Justin Carney have also faced disciplinary measures.

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