12 Dec 2008

Two refs will be used in NRL next season

6:06 am on 12 December 2008

The National Rugby League board has confirmed two referees will control every NRL match next season in the biggest on-field change to the way the game is controlled in its 100-year history.

The two-referee model will apply to the top-flight NRL competition only, with one official patrolling the play-the-ball area and the other positioned on the 10-metre defensive line.

The main referee will be the 10-metre official, who will use the whistle to order stoppages or penalties.

The second referee will communicate directly to the referee who has the whistle.

The referees will alternate roles during a match.

Among other decisions, the NRL board has also reduced the powers of the video referee, removing their role in adjudicating stripping decisions and restricting their calls on foul play to incidents serious enough for a player to be placed on report.

Another crackdown on grapple tackles, with the use of sin-bin for repeated or serious offences, has also been ordered.

The league will move to "regulate public comment" from players or officials about incidents likely to be reviewed by the judiciary.

And defenders who attempt to stop tries by leading with their feet or legs face being charged with misconduct.