Referee Ashley Klein awards a penalty. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Referee Ashley Klein awards a penalty. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Revealed: NRL eyes return of one referee

There is a very good chance the NRL will start its cost-cutting in the referees department.

And this could mean going back to the good old days of just one referee.

The usual suspects will be blowing up about policing the ruck and the wrestle.

That it's too hard for one whistleblower. This is rubbish.

Some of the best games we've seen in recent years have been internationals.

(There are other ways to rid the game of wrestling which is a story for another day.)


Relive classic NRL matches from the 60s to today on KAYO SPORTS. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >


Right now the NRL employs around 25 full-time refs and touch judges.

Then you've got the coaches, physios, bunker officials and technology costs that have spiralled out of control over the last 10 years.

The game will need to slash costs in all areas of administration.

We're hearing that head of football Graham Annesley and senior staff are already looking at various models to save money.

There is a suggestion the game needs only 10 full-time referees. The rest will need to get day jobs or part-time employment like they did in the old days.

The top referees in the game are now earning north of $300,000-a-year. The game simply cannot afford it.



The refs are now on paid leave until the end of the month.

Like staff at football clubs they will probably be stood down without pay in the near future.

It is an uncertain time for all employees, not just in rugby league.

As we have been saying since the competition was suspended, the game will eventually resume but it will never be the same.

Originally published as Revealed: NRL eyes return of one referee