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New NRL officiating structure announced

The NRL has confirmed a new officiating structure following a review of refereeing across the game.

The new NRL officiating structure includes the elite level as well as development and pathways for referees nationally.

The revised structure will include:

  • the appointment of Bernard Sutton to the new role of Senior Manager – Officiating;
  • the appointment of Premiership-winning NRL Coach Michael Maguire as High Performance Coach – Officiating and Leadership Consultant;
  • Robert Finch taking the role of Senior Manager – Education, Development and Pathways;
  • Tony Archer's General Manager – Officiating role now covering the national structure rather than just the elite group.

As part of the new structure, Sutton will assume the day-to-day running of the elite referees group and the NRL Bunker while Maguire's role is to bring a football perspective across officiating programs and processes.

Maguire's role will also include developing a high-performance team and implementing performance programs.

NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said Maguire would provide a new perspective to the officiating structure.

"Michael is a Premiership-winner with South Sydney and Wigan and through his time as a coach he has had a strong focus on leadership," Canavan said.

"He has experience helping corporates with leadership and high performance culture across two countries.

"He has also been a respected and valued member of the NRL Competition Committee for several years, where his knowledge and insight have been able to shape the forward progress of the game.

"As part of this role, he will be part of relevant committees in the NRL football department.  Michael will also provide strategic consultancy to the broader organisation working with the NRL CEO, Head of People and Culture and Head of Football."

Canavan said Sutton had been a valued member of the officiating department in recent years and deserved the opportunity to take on this new role.

"He will lead the officials on a day-to-day basis and will also focus on the technical aspect of officiating," Canavan said.

Sutton said he was pleased to be given the opportunity to take on the new role.

"We have an outstanding group of officials and I'm looking forward to working with them all in this capacity through 2018 and beyond," Sutton said.

An appointments panel, led by Sutton, is in the process of being put together, to determine the appointment of match officials each week.

Canavan said the new structure was designed to improve officiating and pathways nationally.

"This is a different structure for the officiating group to what we have ever had before," Canavan said.

"Tony Archer's role will focus on the national programs, integrating education, development, recruitment, retention and high performance programs.

"I think he is ideally placed to develop the national structure."

Sutton, Maguire and Archer will begin their new roles immediately.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.