NRL Grand Final Week, 2007
Tony Archer gets his shot at the Grand Final

The NRL’s best referee Tony Archer has officially been awarded control of the NRL Grand Final for 2007. Staying true to form, the NRL and referee’s boss Robert Finch have come up with the right decision here in choosing Archer to control Rugby League’s biggest match. Assisting Tony Archer will be sideline officials (touch judges): Steve Chiddy and Russell Turner and controlling video decisions will be Bill Harrigan and Phil Cooley.

Tony Archer would have been rated no chance mid-season, with the likes of Sean Hampstead, Steven Clark and Paul Simpkins all experienced campaigners and looking the only contenders to fight for the big one.

2007 has seen the likes of Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne claw their way to the top of the whistleblower ranks, as the experienced men reach their twilight years. Speculation continues around the future of Steve Clark, the veteran referee is apparently receiving the nudge from officials to call it a day. With Clark having controlled over 300 games, his experience will be hard to replace. Unfortunately for Clark his attention to detail can sometimes cause him to ‘over officiate’ in games – earning him the nickname ‘Terminator’ in 2007.

For Archer, his fightback has been remarkable. Spending some time in reserve grade this year, he has found form at the right time and has done well to shut out club and media distractions. The part time Police prosecutor is following in the footsteps of former referee Bill Harrigan; he too was on the Police payroll and was regularly in control of Rugby League’s biggest game.

Congratulations Tony ‘Have a Chat’ Archer – he’ll certainly be up to the task on Sunday, he not only controls the game speed well, with limited intervention needed – he also has the respect of the players; something that other talented referees struggle to match.

By ricky

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