The National Rugby League has today announced that Daniel Anderson will head a new leadership team as NRL Referees Elite Performance Manager in charge of the 2013 Premiership squad.
The two-time Grand Final coach will have Tony Archer and Russell Smith assisting as technical coaches.
The appointments mark a restructuring of refereeing that moves away from the dual coaching model of the past two seasons.
NRL Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said the appointment represented a strong commitment to ensuring the best possible outcomes on the field.
“We have taken a close look at every aspect of refereeing at NRL level and are in the process of a detailed review into pathways across the game,” Mr Mattiske said.
“At NRL level we have identified performance coaching and team building as key priority areas and Daniel has a strong track record in both. There is a wealth of refereeing talent and technical support available to him.
“Tony Archer has refereed the past six NRL Grand Finals as well as Test matches and Origins while Russell Smith has refereed Tests, Super League Grand Finals and Challenge Cup Finals. Both have been named International Referee of the Year.”
The NRL’s General Manager of Football Operations, Mr Nathan McGuirk, said the appointments provided a balanced structure for refereeing:
“There is one head of elite performance and that is Daniel,” Mr McGuirk said.
“Daniel’s role is to manage the expertise within the refereeing group and to work with clubs to ensure we are communicating as effectively as possible.
“He comes in at a time when the game is developing new refereeing talent and when we have made changes to the refereeing squad. Tony and Russell will each play important support roles.
“The ability to have two international referees of such standing is a key asset to this structure.
“It means that Tony will end an incredibly successful on-field career and we thank him for his contribution over 13 years in the NRL.”
In taking over his new role today, Daniel Anderson said it was important that people took a realistic approach to refereeing: “I don’t profess to have the answer to people arguing one decision or another and we have to accept that there will always be a bit of that in Rugby League.
“What I do hope to do is work closely with clubs and referees to ensure Rugby League is refereed consistently and that we build an environment which is conducive to referees performing at their best on a consistent basis.”
For Tony Archer, today’s announcement brings to a close a spectacular refereeing career that includes the past six Telstra Premiership Grand Finals, 13 State of Origin Games, nine Tests including a World Cup and a Four Nations Final. He is a three-time winner of the NRL Col Pearce Medal and a three-time winner of the International Referee of the Year Award.
“It’s been an amazing experience but I was already at a point where I was deciding whether or not to go for one more year when this opportunity arose,” Archer said.
“I have spent the past few years studying sports administration at University and this is an opportunity to be involved in two areas that I am passionate about.
“The good thing from my perspective is that I know the talented people we have coming through and I am keen to work with them.
“Refereeing is an incredibly exciting career and I want to help people experience the same thrill I have got out of the game over the years.”
Englishman Russell Smith has played a key role in working with the NRL Toyota Cup Squad in recent years and in the process his work in talent identification and technical coaching has been identified as a key strength.
He has carried out the role of Interim NRL Referees Coach during the recent transition period.
“My role is to support Daniel in what he wants to achieve with the referees and hopefully I can help develop some of the younger guys in particular,” Smith said.
“Between Tony and myself there is certainly a strong focus on the technical aspects of refereeing and all round it seems a really strong combination.
“This is an exciting structure that allows people to focus on their key strengths and hopefully it allows me to really concentrate on the technical side of coaching.”