Archer, Hayne to referee NRL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Archer, Hayne to referee NRL grand final

28/09/2010 06:37:43 PM Comments (0)

Under-fire officials Shayne Hayne and Bill Harrigan have overcome controversy to be selected alongside Tony Archer as the decision makers for Sunday's NRL grand final.

Archer will referee his fourth final, while Hayne will join him on the field in his second premiership decider.

Video referee Harrigan was appointed ahead of fellow veteran Steve Clark, despite being dropped for the season's biggest howler just two months ago.

Back in round 23, Harrigan was demoted for allowing a try to St George Illawarra's Mark Gasnier when he had blatantly dropped the ball.

Hayne's experience got him the nod ahead of Jared Maxwell and Ben Cummins, despite his questionable decisions in the two closest matches of the finals series.

In last week's preliminary final between the Dragons and Wests Tigers, Hayne was one of the on-field officials who decided against penalising Jeremy Smith for leading with a knee in a tackle on Tigers' winger Lote Tuqiri.

Smith was later charged by the match review committee.

Hayne was also in the thick of the action in the dramatic qualifying final between the Tigers and Sydney Roosters which came to a head when a broken scrum was allowed to play on and the Roosters stole possession in the dying seconds.

Referees' boss Robert Finch said he looks deeper than isolated errors ahead of selection.

"As I've said before, Bill's made one error this year and he's probably officiated and called to make a decision on 200-300 video referee decisions," Finch said.

"We always tend to look at the one issue he had, I look beyond that. I look at how many years he's been in the game, his experience, his knowledge, his game understanding and we appoint people on that."

In regards to Hayne, Finch said his decision not to penalise Smith in a position where the Tigers could have lined up for a match-winning shot at goal didn't threaten his selection in the grand final.

"No, not at all. We formed an opinion on that decision which was supported by the man in the box," he said.

"Shayne Hayne has been at the top level for a long, long time and has made many, many decisions in those sort of situations and we're comfortable he'll do that again at the weekend."

Hayne said refereeing two of the highest-pressure finals matches in recent memory would stand him in good stead for Sunday's decider.

"When you're refereeing those kind of games that are nice and tight, it makes you concentrate right until the end and grand finals are going to be no different," Hayne said.

Referees are always caught in a conundrum in big games. Critics call on them to put the whistle away and not blow too many penalties, while demanding they stand up and make the big decisions under pressure.

Archer said the referees will be out to do their job and won't go in with pre-conceived ideas.

"It will depend on what they give us. It'll be how the game unfolds," he said.

"The sides certainly know the impact of penalties and they work hard not to give them away.

"If they're there, we'll give them.

"That's why we got picked and that's what we get paid to do."

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