Harrigan backs Origin refs to shine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harrigan backs Origin refs to shine

Ian McCullough 05/07/2011 02:34:37 PM Comments (0)

NRL referees' boss Bill Harrigan is backing State of Origin whistleblowers Shayne Hayne and Tony Archer to ignore Ricky Stuart and Mal Meninga's 'head games' ahead of Wednesday's decider in Brisbane.

Archer was criticised for the way he handled the first clash of the series, but Harrigan had no concerns about putting him alongside Hayne in charge of what is being billed as the biggest Origin clash of all time.

"We made the nominations to Geoff Carr at the NSWRL and Ross Livermore at the QRL last Monday and they were back the very next morning with a tick of approval," Harrigan said on Tuesday.

With coverage of the game reaching fever pitch on either side of the Tweed, both Stuart and Meninga have both made comments about the impact referees may have on the Suncorp Stadium encounter.

However, Harrigan said both Hayne and Archer are too experienced to be swayed by reports in the media and would only listen to orders from him or his assistant Stuart Raper.

Stuart recently claimed the outcome of the game could be decided on the back of a referees' decision, a statement Harrigan refutes.

"That is just Ricky and Mal playing their head games already," he said.

"It happened when I was refereeing State of Origin. There are always things where coaches are making inferences towards refereeing.

"Ricky is probably hoping the referees hear him and put it in the back of their heads, but it doesn't happen.

"It is all a beat-up and the referees will referee the way the game unfolds."

Harrigan expressed frustration at coaches blaming officials when they lose and said players make more game-changing errors in a game than referees.

"What does annoy me is that one or two decisions will come under scrutiny ... it happened in game one where we could have been better for the first 20 minutes but we fixed that in game two," he said.

"But to deflect defeat onto those decisions costing a team a game, I have to say: 'you're kidding'.

"There are a number of things in a game, like a forward pass, a dropped ball that have just as much or more of an affect on a game as a decision from the referee.

"If Stuey Raper and I say to them 'we want you to police the rucks a bit better', then they take notice, not what the coaches say because they have agendas.

"They want the game refereed for the benefit of their team, but that is not going to happen."

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