Harrigan wants more confident NRL referees - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harrigan wants more confident NRL referees

Adrian Warren 17/11/2010 08:40:56 PM Comments (0)

Bill Harrigan called for referees to be more confident and decisive after admitting they had been below his desired standard this year.

Former top referee Harrigan and ex-Cronulla first grade coach Stuart Raper were on Wednesday appointed dual coaches of the NRL premiership referees for next year.

Harrigan and Raper, who replace Robert Finch, will officially take over next Monday.

NRL boss David Gallop said the two men would bring different expertise to the position and would share the responsibility and perform different roles.

"He (Harrigan) will be involved in that technical side, and Stuart is going to be able to communicate with current coaches and current and former players," Gallop said.

Refereeing standards were widely criticised over the past year, with controversy over decisions continuing right up until last weekend's Four Nations final between Australia and New Zealand.

Harrigan, who has been coaching referees since giving up the whistle himself, conceded it had not been a great year for the current crop of officials.

"It's a fair statement to say that refereeing wasn't to a level that we would have liked to have seen it at this year," Harrigan said on Wednesday.

"I'd like to see us go back to basics and referees start to referee with confidence out there and make some decisions before they start with the video referee all the time.

"I think there is room for improvement of what we saw this year.

"I would like to see the referees get in there and back themselves a bit more on the decisions in goal."

Harrigan defended the fitness of referees and said he was adamant there didn't need to be greater use of video technology in decision making.

Raper was a part-time assistant to Finch in recent years.

"After being with the referees in a part-time role for the past three or four years, I've come to understand it's a big job and it's probably too big a job for one person," Raper said.

Gallop said Raper would probably be the first point of contact for NRL coaches complaining about refereeing decisions, though he emphasised Harrigan wouldn't be "quarantined" from the coaches.

Raper said he would defer to Harrigan on issues of rule interpretation and refereeing appointments because of his colleague's greater experience in those areas.

While Harrigan has made some controversial comments in the past, Gallop had no problem with the flamboyant former whistle blower being a strong advocate for the referees.

"I don't think it hurts in any way to have someone who is forthright about the importance of refereeing in the game and I am confident if Bill is forthright about it, he will do it in the right way," Gallop said.

Asked if he would admit if referees had made a mistake, Harrigan said: "Absolutely, I've done it in the past and I'll do it in the future."

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