A-League refs need help from video technology
MELBOURNE City coach Michael Valkanis should have been beaming with pride after his young and inexperienced team managed to fight back from 2-0 down and snare a 2-2 draw with the Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.
Instead - and this seems to be a regular occurrence in the A-League - the former Adelaide United defender was left frustrated and angry after a string of poor decisions from referee Alan Milliner.
First there was the Roar's first goal, which came after Brandon Borrello went down close to Josh Rose but was not touched, yet Milliner - standing a metre away - gave a penalty.
Then the official missed what appeared to be a blatant push on Adrian Caceres from Roar defender Corey Brown with home fans and Valkanis screaming for a spot kick of their own.
Roar went 2-0 up when Jamie Maclaren appeared to be in an offside position and then somehow Dane Ingham gave away a penalty for a slight touch on Nick Fitzgerald, which allowed the home team to equalise from the spot.
Valkanis ultimately benefited from a poor refereeing decision with the second penalty but I can understand why he let rip at the standard of officials in the A-League after the game.
"I think it's time we started taking responsibility and accountability to improve,” he said.
"There were not two penalties. There was one penalty in the first half. That was Caceres being clattered in the box while he's going up for a header and it went unnoticed.
"We've had weeks where we've had goals cancelled against us that have been goals: (Nicolas) Colazo in Adelade, Bruno Fornaroli against Melbourne Victory.
"And we've had goals allowed against us that should have been offside.
"It's getting frustrating.”
Now I am not one to give referees a bashing normally when they stuff up because we are all human and we do make mistakes.
But what I object to is the fact we have video technology available to help officials and it is not being used.
I understand that refereeing is not an easy occupation and it is made so much harder by the scrutiny refs come under because of all the cameras at our games now.
That is why they need help.
I also find it strange that the A-League has three full-time professional referees - Jarred Gillett, Chris Beath and Shaun Evans - but did not feel it necessary to appoint one of those to a game of the importance of the one between Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar.
On the plus side for Valkanis, however, was the performance of the younger players who had to come in as cover for missing stars such as Bruno Fornaroli, Tim Cahill, Luke Brattan and Dean Bouzanis, all suspended from Saturday night's game.
Dylan Pierias became the youngest to play in the competition for City, while Denny Genreau also stood out.
Hopefully in the next few weeks the focus can turn back on to the players and not the referees.