Fans will get the best seat in the house thanks to new technology.
Fox Sports will roll out its latest innovation for the NRL when referee Matt Cecchin dons the “ref cam” for the Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters game this weekend.
Using a wide-angle 720p HD camera mounted to the side of the referee’s head, viewers will be able to get closer to the game than they ever have in the past.
The technology has been trialed in rugby league in recent weeks in the Holden Cup before being introduced to the top grade in round five.
While the camera has been in use for Fox Sports’ Super Rugby coverage, the step forward for viewers and the referees themselves could be invaluable.
“Our philosophy is to take fans closer to the game and their heroes,” Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delany said.
“Being right on the spot when there is a dispute over a try, when players are being cautioned or when there is an incident like Thaiday’s last weekend will be magic up close.”
Refs boss Daniel Anderson said the footage could also help train the referees throughout the season, as it provides the best viewpoint as to why an official may have missed a forward pass, or a knock-on.
“It could be used as an evaluation tool for us,” Anderson said.
“In Queensland, referees have worn them before with the camera fitted into glasses.
“In one review, there was a debate about a referee missing a knock-on. It was obvious on the TV angles. Then they looked at the footage through the ref’s cam and a player ran in front of the referee just as it occurred. It explained why he missed it.”
See an example of “ref cam” in the video below as it prepares to makes its NRL debut: