Big push for one ref to stay in 2021

NRL Head of Football Elite Competitions Graham Annesley will strongly push for the continuation of one referee in 2021, with the commission to have the final say at season’s end.

The return to the one-referee system this season originally received push back from some clubs, but the change has ended up being a responding success.

One official combined with new rules like the “six-again” has increased fatigue in the game, creating a more open and entertaining game.

Annesley is a fan of the NRL sticking with the one referee system for next season and beyond.

“I have expressed a personal point of view that I think the single referee has worked very well this year,” Annesley said.

“I know there is a general view out there that agrees, but we need to do some analytics around it.

“But all the stats that we are seeing at the moment are pointing in the right direction, but we can’t take it as a forgone conclusion and we still have to go through the process.”

NRL Head of Football Elite Competitions Graham Annesley is a fan of the one referee system continuing next season and beyond. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley.Source:AAP

The NRL Commission will have the ultimate say if the one referee system remains next season, but not before receiving a recommendation.

A panel of representatives from the NRL and the referee’s association will meet to determine if the game will use one or two referees.

The referee’s association originally were opposed to changing from two to one referee, even taking the matter to the fair work commission before the dispute was resolved.

Annesley believes it’s important that all parties have their say before handing the final decision to the commission.

“Part of the settlement of that dispute was that we agreed we would review it with a panel at the end of the year,” he said.

“That panel will include representation from the referee’s association and some neutral people that are yet to be selected.

“We will discuss it and then the commission will make a decision, as they do in all matters.”

Referee Gerard Sutton, who will officiate his sixth NRL grand final on Sunday, has enjoyed the one-referee system this season.

“There has definitely been a lot of positives and the fans seem to like it as well,” Sutton said.

“How much of what we’ve seen as a positive this season is to with the one referee or the six-again rule, I think that is something that they will sit down and look at.

“But I don’t think anyone can question what we’ve seen since the competition resumption.

“It has been pretty good, and the one referee has been part of that.”

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