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All NRL matches in 2009 will be officiated by two referees following a meeting of the league's board.
Considered to be a major step in the game's history, the change will see a main referee controlling play from within the defensive 10-metre area, while the other official will be positioned closer to the ruck at the play-the-ball.
The referee policing the play-the-ball will not be able to blow his whistle, instead he will communicate with the main referee to call for stoppages or penalties. It's understood the two will switch between roles during the game.
"This is a major step and another demonstration of the priority that is placed in officiating our game," said NRL chief executive David Gallop.
Other changes include: