The NRL is moving forward from the sackings of former referees bosses Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper, appointing former Parramatta Eels and New Zealand Warriors coach Daniel Anderson, as the NRL Referees Elite Performance Manager for the 2013 NRL season.
Assisting Anderson in the role, will be experienced referees Tony Archer and Russell Smith, who will act as technical coaches.
With heavy criticism leveled at both referees and referees bosses in the past, interim NRL CEO Shane Mattiske said that the reason behind the appointments of Anderson as boss and Smith and Archer as technical coaches, was to ensure that things can run as smoothly as possible.
We have taken a close look at every aspect of refereeing at NRL level and are in the process of a detailed review into pathways across the game,â€ Mr Mattiske said.
â€œAt NRL level, we have identified performance coaching and team building as key priority areas and Daniel has a strong track record in both. There is a wealth of refereeing talent and technical support available to him.
â€œTony Archer has refereed the past six NRL Grand Finals as well as Test matches and Origins, while Russell Smith has refereed Tests, Super League Grand Finals and Challenge Cup Finals. Both have been named International Referee of the Year.â€
With the ultimate goal being to provide a balanced refereeing structure, the NRL's General Manager of Football Operations Nathan McGuirk, says that that is what the NRL plans to ensure.
â€œThere is one head of elite performance and that is Daniel,â€ Mr McGuirk said.
â€œDanielâ€™s role is to manage the expertise within the refereeing group and to work with clubs to ensure we are communicating as effectively as possible.
â€œHe comes in at a time when the game is developing new refereeing talent and when we have made changes to the refereeing squad. Tony and Russell will each play important support roles.
â€œThe ability to have two international referees of such standing is a key asset to this structure.
â€œIt means that Tony will end an incredibly successful on-field career and we thank him for his contribution over 13 years in the NRL.â€
Anderson, who was a popular coach among the fans of th
e teams he was in charge of in the past, admits that he does not have all the answers, but will ensure that the standard of refereeing is consistent.
â€œI donâ€™t profess to have the answer to people arguing one decision or another and we have to accept that there will always be a bit of that in Rugby League.
â€œWhat I do hope to do is work closely with clubs and referees to ensure Rugby League is refereed consistently and that we build an environment which is conducive to referees performing at their best on a consistent basis.â€
With Tony Archer being named as one of the technical coaches, it closes the curtain on an illustrious 13-year career as an NRL referee, with a resume featuring: Six grand finals, 13 Origin games, nine Tests, a three time winner of the Col Pearce Medal and a three time winner of the International Referee Of the Year Award.
The new opportunity for Archer came at the right time for the veteran referee, as he was debating as to whether or not to go around for another year as an NRL referee.
â€œItâ€™s been an amazing experience, but I was already at a point where I was deciding whether or not to go for one more year when this opportunity arose,â€ Archer said.
â€œI have spent the past few years studying sports administration at University and this is an opportunity to be involved in two areas that I am passionate about.
â€œThe good thing from my perspective, is that I know the talented people we have coming through and I am keen to work with them.
â€œRefereeing is an incredibly exciting career and I want to help people experience the same thrill I have got out of the game over the years.â€
Russell Smith is also no stranger to the world of refereeing, previously working with the referees in charge of Toyota Cup games in the past, before acting as the interim referees boss, until this announcement.
â€œMy role is to support Daniel in what he wants to achieve with the referees and hopefully I can help develop some of the younger guys in particular,â€ Smith said.
â€œBetween Tony and myself there is certainly a strong focus on the technical aspects of refereeing and all round it seems a really strong combination.
â€œThis is an exciting structure that allows people to focus on their key strengths and hopefully it allows me to really concentrate on the technical side of coaching.â€