Russell Smith set to lead NRL refs


Former Super League referee Russell Smith could become the NRL’s new referees boss.

Current NRL referees have lost faith with their current bosses, Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper, and a review over the performance of the running and development of referees in Australia has begun.  

The results of the review could see Harrigan and Raper replaced, with Smith and Tony Archer being brought in as their successors.

NRL boss David Gallop met with Brad Fittler and two unidentified referees, receiving a document outlining Harrigan and Raper’s failures in their current roles.

The squad of NRL referees had been losing faith in the duo for a while, but the aftermath of last week’s video referee decision to award Greg Inglis’ try in the opening State of Origin match was the straw that apparently broke the camel’s back for the whistleblowers.

Harrigan refused to comment on the decision to the media, an error that finally prompted the meeting with Fittler, Gallop and the two referees.

In a joint statement from Harrigan and Raper, the pair said they were happy to assist any review into their performance.

It said: “We are confident that we have the right procedures in place and, as always, our focus remains on working to ensure our entire squad of match officials continue to perform at the highest possible standards.”


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