Arvo Wrap

Cronulla have announced the appointment of former Parramatta football manager Tony Zappia as the club's new chief executive.

Zappia will replace outgoing Greg Pierce, who announced in July he would be leaving the Sharks to accept a senior management position in a major building company in Sydney's western suburbs.

Zappia, who spent seven years with the Eels, will begin his new role on October 15.

Onto the judiciary, and Manly five eighth Jamie Lyon will tonight fight a dangerous throw charge from Sunday night's grand final loss to Melbourne.

Lyon was charged over a tackle on Storm fullback Billy Slater in the first minute of the 34-8 loss. He would have escaped a ban with an early guilty plea but opted to plead not guilty this morning.

Meanwhile, Lyon's Sea Eagles teammate Jason King has been banned for one match after pleading guilty today to a grade two contrary conduct charge for lifting his knees into a Dallas Johnson tackle in the seventh minute of the match.

Elsewhere, the NRL has announced the signing of former players Henry Perenara, Paul Mellor and Luke Phillips to its squad of referees.

The trio will enter a cadet program designed to fast track current or recently-retired players into the refereeing ranks with a view to them eventually becoming first grade referees. Veteran referee Steve Clark, who has announced his retirement from refereeing, will oversee the players' progress as he steps into a development role with NRL.

And finally the NRL has handed clubs the power to decide which teams they play at home in 2008 by scrapping its pool system for next year's draw.

Clubs have until today to provide the NRL with a list ranking opponents from one to 15 based on who they most want to play at home next season. The move comes after NRL club CEOs voted to remove the pool system because it prevented marquee match-ups and didn't maximise revenue for cash-strapped clubs.

The NRL says it will try to accommodate as many club requests as possible. Chief operating officer Graham Annesley says the change is about ensuring local derbies and blockbusters are played twice each year.

The draw for 2008 will be released later this month.

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