Grand Final referee Shayne Hayne has decided to retire from the NRL ranks to take up a full-time position developing the next wave of whistle-blowers.

Referee Shayne Hayne retires

NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg on Wednesday paid tribute to match official Shayne Hayne, who has retired from refereeing.

After 328 NRL matches - including four grand finals - as well as 14 State of Origins, the three-time Col Pearce Medal winner has retired to take up a full-time role as coach of the NRL Referee Emerging Squad.

"There are not many players who play more than 300 games, and there are not many referees who can referee more than 300. It is a remarkable achievement and Shayne is extremely highly-regarded as a result," Mr Greenberg said.

"He earned a significant amount of respect from the players and coaches.

"Importantly, Shayne will be able to impart that knowledge and experience back into the refereeing ranks with his new role."

Hayne, the third most-experienced first-grade referee of all time, said he was looking forward to a new challenge.

"It's been a long and rewarding career,” Mr Hayne said. "I'm very proud and honoured to have refereed grand finals, State of Origins and Test matches.

"I'm also extremely happy to be able to now pass on some of that information to other referees, to give them the opportunity to get to the next level.

"This sport has given me so much and I want to continue to give back."

NRL Referee Elite Performance Manager Tony Archer praised Mr Hayne for an outstanding career as a match official.

"Shayne has achieved everything possible on the field when it comes to refereeing," Mr Archer said. "He was the first and only official to officiate in an NRL Grand Final as referee, touch judge and video referee.
 
"He will go down in history as one of the very best. But just as significant was his off-field contribution within the squad. He is a great team man and has helped so many other referees in game.
 
"I am extremely fortunate that he will be joining me as the Referee Emerging Squad coach so that his skills will not be lost. He will be a tremendous asset."

Shayne Hayne

National Rugby League
Games: 328 (2001-14). Third all-time behind Bill Harrigan (393) and Col Pearce (340)
Finals games: 28 (2006-14)
Grand Finals: 4 (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014)
State of Origin Games: 14 (2007, 2009-11, 2013-14). Second all-time behind Bill Harrigan (21)

International
World Cup: 6 (2008, 2013)
Four Nations: 1 (2009)
Other Tests: 1 (2014)

Other Games
City-Country: 2 (2007, 2009)
Australian Prime Minister’s XIII v PNG: 1 (2005)
All Stars: 2 (2010, 2011)
Total Games: 355

Honours
Col Pearce Medal (2009, 2011, 2013)
RLIF Referee of the Year (2009)

Source: David Middleton League Information Services