OK, so what do you say when the man we all love to hate comes across as a decent bloke?

Stuart Cummings was a man in the middle for many years before he was appointed the Rugby League’s Controller of Referees – and we had the chance to get back at him at our latest meeting!

After a brief resume of his career, Stuart went into the customary question and answer session. Some answers were quite illuminating.

As with the evenings with Ben Thaler and James Child, it really is a pity we don’t hear more from referees about their interpretation of the laws of the game.

The Luke O’Donnell incident was, naturally, asked about.

After play continued, the touch judge went on to the field. Referee Thierry Alibert heard what he had to say, and gave the penalty.

Due to the long break in play, the officials spoke again with, perhaps, something being lost in translation! Mr Alibert did not referee any of the play-off games.

Stuart was asked about forward passes and touch judges.

We all know the ball can move forward, even when it is passed correctly, due to the speed of the player passing it. Touch judges keep up with play and are constantly watching where potential receivers of a pass are positioned.

Consequently, they don’t always see the movement of the arms of the player making the pass and, therefore, can’t tell whether the pass is forward or not. Unlike in the stands where the whole picture can be seen.

“Offside Ref!” We’ve all probably shouted it at one time or another.

In order to keep the game flowing, referees often let play proceed if a player is offside but does not interfere with play. He will have a quiet word with the offender. If the player persists he should penalise him.

The whole point of a referee, Stuart mused, was to fade into the background and let the game flow. “Spectators would soon be up in arms if we penalised every single infringement.”

Nothing used to please him more than when he was in the middle and was a mere spectator with the best view in the house!

Meanwhile, just a reminder, on Friday, December 7 it’s our Reindeer Race Night. Tickets are now on sale from any committee member, behind the bar at Turnbridge, and are now available online.

For further information on all the above please visit our website, www.GiantsSupporters.co.uk, or contact Dave Calverley, on 07887 878425.