NRL ignore Harrigan’s plea on new boss
NRL referees co-coach Bill Harrigan speaks to the media about some of the controversial referee calls during last nights State of Origin during a press conference at Rugby League Central in Sydney, Thursday, May 24, 2012. The NSW Blues lost to Queensland in the first of three State of Origin matches. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
The NRL have rejected calls from former referees boss Bill Harrigan to appoint his successor only from within the ranks of on-field officials.
Harrigan and his referees co-coach Stuart Raper were sacked from their roles Friday with a new NRL referees elite performance manager to be appointed to replace them in the coming weeks.
Former grand final whistleblower Harrigan sees only former referees as suitable for such a role, which would rule out possible candidates in ex-NRL team coaches Tim Sheens and Brian Smith.
But director of football operations Nathan McGuirk said the NRL would cast as wide a net as possible to find the most suitable person, as the game seeks to recover from a year punctuated by officiating blunders.
“Our priority at this stage is to find the best possible candidate for the position and that could come from anywhere,” McGuirk told AAP on Saturday.
“We are not going to limit ourselves as to where that candidate may come from. We want the search to be as extensive as possible.”
Earlier Harrigan told Triple M’s Dead Set Legends: “You need to have a referee in charge there because he understands the game from a referee’s point of view, he has the empathy of the game from a referee’s point of view, and he understands it and that is what needs to happen.
“No matter who they put in, and it’s up to them, it’s their call, make sure it is a referee.”
Harrigan, who admitted his dumping did not come as a surprise after State of Origin and the NRL finals were marred by a number of highly contentious decisions, also called for an urgent review of rugby league’s rulebook claiming it had not kept pace with the modern game.
McGuirk said a thorough review of refereeing would be conducted once the new appointment was made, including a re-think on the applying the `benefit of the doubt’ rule to awarding tries.
“The first thing we have to do is to get the new leadership structure in place and then we will move from there,” he said.
“We have had a rules committee in place for the last few years now and that is something they will have the opportunity to look at when the time comes.”© AAP 2013