Cleary joins NRL to aid refs

Ivan Cleary has been brought in by the NRL amid widespread discontent surrounding the game’s officiating.

Former Penrith and Warriors coach Cleary was unveiled by NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg on Wednesday as a part-time consultant to lend his footballing nous to assist with match review, judiciary and refereeing issues.

Cleary’s name has been among the first mentioned as a possible replacement for two coaches under pressure this season, Wests Tigers’ Jason Taylor and the Warriors’ Andrew McFadden.

The $2 million bunker and the whistle-blowers have been heavily criticised for a number of howlers and inconsistencies this year.

Greenberg said Cleary was brought in because of his extensive playing and coaching experience.

“Ivan is one of the most-experienced coaches in the game and he has a great feel for what the clubs want from our match and judiciary officials,” Greenberg said.

“So our coaches can now be assured that we are getting input from someone who has a real feel for the game from the coaching perspective.”

Also at the biannual coaches’ meeting between clubs and NRL hierarchy on Wednesday, it was announced a proposal to introduce extra time in finals and grand finals was being considered.

A recommendation will be put to the NRL competition committee for five minutes of extra time each way to be played in finals and, if the scoreline remains at a stalemate, then it will enter golden point.

The proposal must be ticked off at the next meeting of the competition committee later this month before being approved.

Also, from next round, the match review committee will announce charges 24 hours after each match.

The coaches also asked for the bunker to be used less during general play. Under current rules, the video referees can only step in if the on-field officials miss a reportable offence.

But the coaches asked for those powers to be wound back.

Despite it being a source of constant criticism recently, the meeting endorsed the current obstruction rule, in particular that some level of discretion be applied by the referees to determine if a defender had been impeded.

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