14 Nov 2008

Support for two referees in NRL games

7:16 am on 14 November 2008

Australia's National Rugby League is set to make history next year following strong backing from players and coaches to have two referees on the field at the same time.

An industry advisory group met in Sydney to debate the issue and then used a new electronic system that allowed representatives to rank the issues by importance and then vote on whether changes should be made.

The two topics which dominated discussion were the push for two referees to help whistle blowers make better decisions and the need for the judiciary to strangle the unsavoury grapple tackle out of the game.

58 per cent of the group favoured introducing two referees into the NRL next year.

There's been a trial of dual referees in the under-20 Toyota Cup competition this season.

Figures recently released reveal referees' heart rates hit more than 175 beats per minute for almost two-thirds of the game.

The presence of an extra referee added further weight to a view that video referees should no longer adjudicate on stripping penalties, with 83 per cent wanting a rule change.