Mander quits as NRL looks at refereeing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mander quits as NRL looks at refereeing

By Adrian Proszenko 08/12/2005 03:35:49 PM Comments (0)

Just two years after the retirement of leading referee Bill Harrigan, the NRL suffered another blow to its whistleblowing stocks with the resignation of Tim Mander.

Mander, 44, was named the referee of the year in the 2005 Golden Boot Awards and handled the past two grand finals.

In a bid to bolster the quantity and quality of its refereeing stocks, the NRL on Thursday announced it will offer fulltime positions for promising young officials as part of a restructure which brings the NRL and the NSWRL Referees Association together.

The changes are part of a blueprint by NRL referees coach Robert Finch that will allow the game's top on-field officials to earn over $100,000 a year, while promising young referees - some of whom are yet to experience first grade - would start on packages from $65,000.

As well as the annual wage, the top tier of referees would earn match fees for major games such as State of Origin, finals, grand finals and internationals.

Harrigan will join Finch as assistant coach and will become a referees' spokesperson on `on-field rulings'.

Already nine referees have indicated they will accept fulltime contracts.

Finch said he was confident the restructure would ensure a high standard of refereeing, despite the retirements of Harrigan and Mander.

"Bill Harrigan retired two years ago and I think all the people in this room would acknowledge the game is going better than it has ever gone before," he said.

"Referees ... create an environment that allows teams to play and obviously everything feeds off that.

"Tim will be missed, as was Bill, but life went on and the game has flourished since.

"In full respect to Tim, life will go on after Tim."

Asked if the changes would ensure a better standard of refereeing, Finch said: "I believe it would. Obviously the NRL isn't tipping in a lot of money and expecting nothing back."

Newcastle coach Michael Hagan backed the initiative.

"With some of the referees leaving the game we really need a situation where the young referees are getting a better education ... I think it will be a plus for the game."

Mander, who will remain with the NRL as a video referee, said he was looking forward to focusing on his Christian ministry and spending more time with his family.

"The new arrangement will allow me to stay involved with both passions and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"I'm sure the guys are up to the challenge and I hope the public and the players appreciate just how tough a job it can be.

Up-and-coming referee Ben Cummings said the changes made refereeing a more appealing profession for young people.

"It allows me to solely focus on refereeing, I don't have to juggle refereeing with my other job as a teacher," he said.

"It gives me more opportunity to develop the skills required in the NRL."

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