The National Rugby League will now use a 2-referee system, with a single referee in charge of the play-the-ball area and the other ‘head’ referee standing at the 10-metre opposing teams defence line.
The ‘head’ referee will police the 10m rule, and be responsible for making the calls and blowing the whistle.
The new second referee will only relate information and provide tips to the referee who has the whistle.
During a game, the head and secondary officials will change positions and rotate their lead and follow roles.
“This is a major step and another demonstration of the priority that is placed in officiating our game,” NRL CEO David Gallop said today.
“Today’s decision is a fundamental change to the refereeing model and one that reflects the pace and demands of today’s game.
“Not for a second do I think this will stop people arguing about on-field decisions but they can’t argue about the professionalism or the dedication of those involved in making the decisions.”
In other changes, the NRL has changed the powers of the video referee, the video officials will now not be allowed to make a call on stripping decisions and also their ability to make calls on foul play.
Officials have been given the green light to discipline grapple tacklers, now they are able to sin bin the offender for serious, or repeat infringes.
The NRL will also take steps to “regulate public comment” from the players or game officials about potential judiciary bound situations.
And in another major alteration to NRL rules for next season, a defending player who tries to block a try-scoring attempt by using their feet or legs face misconduct charges.
The changes ensure the NRL remains at the forefront of development, one of the few sports who regularly change or improve their rules – not just for the safety, but for the betterment and further entertainment the game provides.