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Stuart Calls For Radical Refereeing
Sydney Roosters coach Ricky Stuart believes he has a solution to criticism of NRL referees - put two men in the middle.
Stuart, whose premiership winners host the Warriors on Sunday, says first-grade games should have two referees: one for controlling the ruck, while the other ensures the teams are 10m apart.
He believes the game has simply become too fast for one referee to officiate.
His suggestions follow last weekend's debacle at Parramatta where referee Shayne Hayne lost control of the game between the Eels and Cronulla.
Hayne has been widely criticised for sending off Sharks captain David Peachey for dissent and failing to enforce the 10m rule.
NRL referees boss Robert Finch has not dismissed Stuart's proposal, which comes as the NRL prepares to trial interchange referees in two matches this weekend.
"I'd like to see a main referee who would be in charge of the game from the ruck," Stuart said.
"The other referee would control the 10m, that's all he would have to do. This would take away the pressure of a referee having the extra responsibility.
"This idea could need tweaking and I don't want to sound like a guru, but I think it would take away some inconsistencies over the 10m.
"The refs are fit, but there is the mental fatigue factor. Let's get two refs in there."
Finch said his organisation was "willing to trial anything."
"We need to embrace something sooner rather than later, either going with two referees or having interchange refs.
"We are open to all options."
Two referees on the field together was an experiment trialled in a reserve grade match between North Sydney and Cronulla in 1998.
Although the trial was a success on face value, clubs and players at the time claimed it did not offer any great advantage.
Stuart also believes all NRL first-grade referees should be fulltime professionals.
Hayne is not one of the NRL's fulltime referees as he works as a concrete contractor during the week.
"We are trying to get the game professional in all areas," Stuart said.
"Referees have a major bearing on matches.
"If the referee isn't professional then that could be a concern."
But Cronulla coach Chris Anderson, who said this week he did not want to see Hayne again, did not agree.
"I don't think having a job is a bad thing - it's not a problem. There's not enough for them to do."