EXCLUSIVE: Third referee now to assist ‘majority rule’ decisions in big moments

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By The Roar,

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    Dave Smith achieved a lot in a short time as NRL CEO, but is still lacking on player welfare. (Photo: AAP)

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    The NRL has announced the game will bring in a third on-field referee in order for a trio to rule via majority decision on key moments in games.

    The third referee will be known as the zipper referee, to go with the main referee, and pocket referee, as well as video referee and touch judges.

    The move, announced by NRL CEO Dave Smith, was agreed after a meeting between Channel Nine, NRL officials and NRL players, looking to further boost the game’s spectacle on live TV.

    The Roar understands former player and NRL coach Phil ‘Gus’ Gould was instrumental in the new agreement, with key peaks in Nine’s viewership occurring during his exciting rants at referee rulings, and point-filled arguments with legendary caller Ray ‘Rabs’ Warren.

    Sam ‘Third Man’ Thaiday was the chief representative from the NRL players, with a significant push for the ‘third man’ style of officiating coming from that camp.

    “I’ve always been a fan of being the third man in, so I am a big fan of this initiative,” Thaiday said.

    The ‘Zipper’ is expected to generally roam through play, with the spectacle of having another official on the ground for players to avoid acting as sort of ’14th man’ in attack.

    ‘Zipper’ will also wear a different fluorescent colour – mixing the main referee and pocket referee pinks with a bright green. This should help players feel more accustomed to colours akin to nightclubs such as The Ivy, where players are often found, even on game days.

    Touch judge salaries will also be halved, will NRL CEO Dave Smith saying “I haven’t yet seen them make any change to the game in the two games I’ve watched this season – which is still one and a half games more than the average NRL fan, given crowd numbers thus far”.

    Touch judges must also have passed the American Bar Exam, to ensure their judge status is at least partly credible.

    A final change to the match adjudicating was made by Smith, with the whistle now to be blown more regularly in order to attempt to convert rugby union fans who are used to constant stoppages due to scrums collapsing for up to five minutes and a range of confusing penalties.

    The NRL also noted that moves to increase conversions to three points, bringing the rule in line with that in rugby union, was rejected.

    It was deemed that the rule, while initially popular, would result in too many teams trying to play resurrected or cloned versions of Hazem el Masri or Eric Simms.

    There would also be increased temptation among NRL clubs to convert rugby union stars such as Morne Steyn or Jonny Wilkinson, resulting in undesirable and complex changes to the NRL’s pension plans.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • April 1st 2014 @ 5:50am
      p.Tah said | April 1st 2014 @ 5:50am | ! Report

      What’s the date?

      • April 1st 2014 @ 7:24am
        llieno said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        31st March in Canada!

      • Roar Rookie

        April 1st 2014 @ 7:50am
        Squidward said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        Forget about a joke. Let’s do this. 2 can’t get it right prob need a 3rd official. Or one for every player on the field in all crayola fluros. Like a building site

        • April 1st 2014 @ 8:25am
          p.Tah said | April 1st 2014 @ 8:25am | ! Report


        • April 5th 2014 @ 12:31am
          Magic Sponge said | April 5th 2014 @ 12:31am | ! Report

          I think we need a jury of 12 to decide on every big decision.

    • April 1st 2014 @ 6:32am
      Jumbo jones said | April 1st 2014 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      Oh these bloody April fools day news articles…

    • April 1st 2014 @ 7:08am
      Kurt said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      April fools

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

    • April 1st 2014 @ 7:31am
      Sir Jamie Lyon said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Oh no.. it just gets worse. Imagine Maxwell, shane hayne and chicken legs checcin all in one game! Investigation?

    • April 1st 2014 @ 7:37am
      Eden said | April 1st 2014 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      I got to about halfway through the article before I realised something was up. Can’t believe its April already

    • April 1st 2014 @ 8:13am
      john badseed said | April 1st 2014 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Manly to trade Hiku for Fifi

      • April 1st 2014 @ 8:19am
        mushi said | April 1st 2014 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        We’ll give you a golden boot winner…

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