Matt Cecchin has been appointed to referee Sunday’s NRL grand final despite a complaint made by Melbourne in the aftermath of their preliminary win over Canberra last week.
Cecchin came under fire from both the Storm and referees boss Tony Archer on Monday after Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was forced to wide a conversion attempt last Saturday.
However Archer still named Cecchin as lead referee, partnering him with the experienced Ben Cummins for the Melbourne-Cronulla decider at ANZ Stadium.
Archer said the officials team needed to better look after Cecchin last Saturday.
“We’ll put our hands up when we do make a mistake,” Archer told AAP.
“For us, it was a bit of a team letdown. Obviously it was unique circumstances. A try was scored, he had to check it and there was also a fracas that happened behind him.
“He came out physically to clear it but didn’t go back to the original position. we need to look after him better as a team and not allow that to happen again.”
Cecchin, who will officiate just his second decider, admitted feeling nervous over a possible axing over his embarrassing gaffe, but promised not to make the same mistake.
“That’s never happened before, officiating over 400 games,” he said.
“The sequence of events and the way that that try unfolded, no one knew that that had happened. But because we learn – and I do learn from my mistakes, that’s one thing I can promise you. It won’t happen on the weekend.”
Archer said Cecchin and Cummins, who were the lead referees in both preliminary finals last week, were the form officials in the NRL.
“They’ve both been there before, they know what to do. But they’ve performed really well in the semi-finals so I’m taking in the two form referees in that grand final,” he said.
The Sharks are undefeated in four games refereed by Cecchin this year, while the Storm have split their six games under his watch.