28 Sep 2011

Top ref overlooked for Grand Final

8:33 am on 28 September 2011

The NRL's referees boss Bill Harrigan says criticism by the Warriors coach Ivan Cleary of Shayne Hayne had no bearing on the league's top referee being controversially overlooked for Sunday's grand final in Sydney.

Despite being named the competition's top official just two days ago, Hayne will be watching from the stands while first timer Matt Cecchin partners veteran Tony Archer for the decider between the Warriors and Manly.

Hayne came in for strong criticism from Cleary after the Warriors failed to receive a first half penalty in the opening two finals under Hayne and his partner Jared Maxwell.

But Harrigan defended the decision, saying Archer and Cecchin outperformed him over the three weeks of finals.