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NRL Statement on Sharks-Cowboys Final

The NRL has today taken steps to prevent a repeat of the seventh tackle error that occurred in Saturday’s Elimination Final between the Sharks and Cowboys.

In concluding a review into the match today with NRL Referees Elite Performance Manager Daniel Anderson, NRL Head of Football, Mr Todd Greenberg, said a number of issues had been identified and measures are already being implemented.

From yesterday the on-field referees will be expected to vocalise each tackle so that players and the entire Match Officials squad will be aware of the referee’s count at all times.

All Match Officials squads have been reminded of the shared responsibility they have in assisting the Head Referee.

Additional responsibilities have also been given to the head Video Referee in relation to the tackle count.

Greenberg said that while referees can never be infallible, the circumstances of Saturday remain unacceptable.

“The referees accept that there are consequences for actions and that is likely to cost them significantly in the finals series ahead when Daniel confirms his appointments,” Greenberg said.

“We do need to keep a sense of perspective. At our end we need to ensure that everything can be done to prevent human error.

“We also need to accept that in a game as intense and as fast paced as Rugby League that you will never eradicate all mistakes either on the part of the players or the officials.

“We will be doing everything we can to ensure this does not happen again.”

The NRL has today reviewed two other key aspects of Saturday’s match.

The first was a security breach at Allianz Stadium that led to fans subjecting Cowboys players to abuse.

“Arrangements had been in place with the stadium to prevent this and we are bitterly disappointed that they did not proceed as planned,” Greenberg said.

“The security and safety of the players is of paramount importance and we have expressed our dissatisfaction with stadium officials to ensure what happened on Saturday is not repeated.”

The second was a technical breakdown with the scoreboard clock in the final minute of the match.

“It is important to note the clock on the scoreboard is a display clock and the official match clock with the time-keeper operated without error,” Greenberg said.

“We understand the concerns of the players and fans at the time given the excitement in the final moments of the game but the match was played to the correct time.”

The NRL has also ordered a complete review of all current procedures Match Officials utilise and of the time-keeping facilities at stadiums.

“In an ideal world the broadcasters, stadium and the time-keeper would all be working off the one feed and that is certainly something we would like to pursue.”

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