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Wayne Bennett at Training

Video technology was introduced in rugby league during the Super League days of the mid-90s to help referees minimise human error and ultimately get the right call.

It's a move that has worked over the years, especially in big matches like finals or on the Origin and Test stages.

With an increased reliance on the video referee over the years though, the referees in the middle have become increasingly reluctant to make an on-field judgement without going upstairs to the video.

That's an opinion shared by many people across the game, including Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett. 

In the wake of last Sunday's controversial loss against Canberra, where officials missed what looked like an obvious forward pass from Jarrod Croker late in the match that resulted in a crucial try, Bennett says technology has significantly affected referees and their ability to make decisions.

"My disappointment is what technology has done to the referee in particular, because it has taken away his initiative," Bennett says.

"That’s what I see there.

"I mean, he has put the whistle in his mouth (against Canberra) and did everything but blow it.

"His body actions were I’m going to blow a forward pass here and he never blew it because he is relying on someone else to tell him what to do with the forward pass.

"In his gut he knew it was a forward pass, I’ve got no doubt about that in my mind.

"Everybody else in the ground knew and as I said all his actions indicated that.

"That’s what worries me more than anything else.

"My players can’t play if they don’t back themselves and referees can’t be the refs if they don’t back themselves either.

"It's hard, because they've got to rely on the technology around them to make a decision."

Bennett admits he was unhappy with a number of calls in the Canberra loss, but pinpoints a crusher tackle by Raiders forward Shaun Fensom on Dane Gagai in opening exchanges as particularly disappointing.

Fensom has been charged with a grade two infringement for his dangerous tackle on Gagai and will miss this Sunday's home clash against the Gold Coast after taking the early guilty plea.

However there was no penalty given to Newcastle on the day and Bennett believes this isn't fair.  

"I was pretty unhappy about a lot of things in that match and that (Fensom tackle) was a good example," he says. 

"You’ve got a guy doing one or two weeks for a crusher tackle which we couldn’t even get a penalty out of.

"That was kind of our night.

"When the penalties should have been coming, they weren’t.

"The game has got to understand and I’m not convinced the referees do understand.

"With the salary cap scenario and situation, there is a lot of inequality across the game.

"So the difference on some occasions is how officials see things on any given day.

"We are not a team that gives away a lot of penalties and we don’t go out there to break the rules, but you felt on Sunday they were just officiating one team.

"That’s the part that makes it difficult in these close fought contests that are pretty much every weekend now."