OFFICIAL RELEASE: Finch stands down

After eight years as the driving force behind some of the biggest changes in refereeing, referees coach Robert Finch has announced his resignation.<br><br>A two-time premiership winning player, who held coaching and administrative roles at a number of NRL clubs, Robert Finch has overseen the implementation of refereeing moving from semi professionalism to full time professionalism and managed a complete transformation in training, accountability and in the tactical understanding of the game.<br><br>An independent report conducted into refereeing during his time in charge showed that the systems in place represented a world standard in the professionalism of on field officials. He has overseen the development of consistent key indicators for all clubs and officials, structured consultation with clubs and the introduction of the two-referee system.<br><br>“Being in charge of referees is a thankless task at times but anyone who looks back at Robert’s contribution to refereeing can’t fail to acknowledge the positive changes that he has driven in the game,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today. <br><br>“Finchy’s passion for the game and his experience in so many areas helped him drive the level of professionalism in refereeing to a new level and he is to be congratulated on that achievement.”<br><br>Robert Finch said today that it had been a difficult decision to walk away but that it was time to pursue other challenges.<br><br>“It wouldn’t surprise people to know that this is a role that consumes all of your attention and while it is rewarding it is also a huge responsibility,” Mr Finch said.<br><br>“I have had the opportunity to consider the road ahead personally and have decided that as much as I love working with the referees and the clubs, I have reached the point where I need new challenges. &nbsp;<br><br>“There are still plenty of things I want to do in my career and this is the time to explore some of those options.<br><br>“There is a great squad of referees in place for the future and I believe that the standards of refereeing and the support systems in place for referees are better than at any time in the game.<br><br>“Having spent 8 years with these guys and having seen the dedication and the quality of the individuals involved, I walk away with a deep sense of respect for everyone involved in refereeing.<br><br>“It can be a really rewarding part of the game to be involved with and I certainly thank the guys for the opportunity that I have had to work with them.”<br><br>Robert will complete his duties with the NRL after the Four Nations Final and the process to appoint a replacement is currently underway. Until that process has been completed the NRL will not be making any further comment.<br><br>