It’s crunch time for the teams and crunch time for the referees heading into the Telstra Premiership Final series. That’s the message from referees co-coach Bill Harrigan.

Harrigan says up to eight referees are in contention to adjudicate the Telstra Premiership Grand Final on October 2, with consistency over the last four weeks the key to getting rugby league’s highest accolade for whistleblowers.

Harrigan has asked the referees to stick to the guidelines that they have enforced all season, including making sure players are onside at kick-offs, taking drop-outs behind the line and making sure scrums are bound properly.

“There have been 34 tries directly off the back off scrums and that is largely due to us setting the scrums properly and not letting them brake early,” he told NRL.com.

“The backs are getting a chance to get the ball early and get the ball to the wingers to score tries because there is more space.

“In years gone by they were breaking early and cutting off the halves straight away.”