They have engaged AMC Media’s Anthony McClelland, a specialist in crisis management, in an attempt to better position the referees publicly. McClellan, who won three Logies during a journalistic career that included a stint at A Current Affair, has a client list that includes swim star Thorpe, controversial bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse, Rabbitohs chairman Pappas and Catholic church whistleblower John Cleary.
The PRLMO claims the NRL would save only $500,000 by switching to one referee, with most of those savings set to be eroded in up to $200,000 in legal fees. The governing body will retain all 22 full-time positions and has vowed to revert back to the two-referee model next season if the change doesn’t improve the standard of the game.
The other controversial change is the introduction of a ‘six-again’ call instead of awarding penalties for ruck infringements. One of the likely beneficiaries due to his speed out of marker, South Sydney No.9 Damien Cook, believes the change would be a positive one.
“It will be interesting to see how teams use the six-again rule to their advantage,” Cook said. “It depends on the point of the game, but the more tackles you do, the more fatigue sets in. You might see the hookers, halves and outside backs come into the game a bit more and see some open footy.