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Referee's report - Round 24
Tony de Las Heras makes his official refereeing debut on Sunday when the Rabbitohs are at home to the Cowboys. Tony came on late in the first half in Round five as a replacement for the then injured Paul Simpkins. He replaces Jason Robinson who was in charge of the Sharks and Panthers match last Saturday night.
Sean Hampstead will control the Sea Eagles? important clash with the Dogs on Friday night at Brookvale Oval. A win for Manly will secure them a home semi final, so this match will have the quality of a Finals fixture. Just what Sean needs as the build up to September football continues.
Shayne Hayne was again impressive in the Dragons home win against the Tigers on Sunday and has been rewarded with the Raiders important clash against the Storm on Saturday night. Shayne could be a dark horse for a final this year, while the Raiders need to win to confirm their place in September.
Referee Paul Simpkins will have the local derby between the Dragons and Sharks in Wollongong on Saturday night. Paul was criticised for blowing too many inefficient penalties in the Eels? big victory over the Roosters on Sunday.
Steve Clark has been given the important match of the round between Newcastle and Penrith. It has been rated the number one match as the equation is simple for the Panthers, they must win to keep their finals hopes alive. The equation is simple for Clark, keep refereeing at the good standard he has to ensure his first Grand Final appearance of his career.
Russell Smith will have his second game back in first grade since spending along time in Premier League. Russell, who came over from England in 2005, was to just spend nine weeks in Australia refereeing, but has joined the Canterbury Refereeing District since then and looks to be a full timer when it comes to refereeing. Russell will be over in New Zealand this weekend when the Warriors are at home to the Roosters.
Tony Archer, who made his first appearance in a finals fixture last year in the Sharks and Dragons clash, looks to be on the road to another one this year if he keeps up the good standard that he has over the past couple of months. Tony has the important match at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday where the Eels are at home to the Broncos. The game could be one of the matches in the first week of the finals which kicks off in the second weekend of September.