The NRL’s controversial match review committee has undergone a significant shake-up with former Manly and Canberra winger Michael Robertson to take on one of rugby league’s toughest jobs.
Robertson, who won two premierships under Des Hasler in 2008 and 2011 at the Sea Eagles, was part of the NRL’s MRC last year but will step into replace departed boss Michael Buettner.
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The other significant change will be the number of “comparable” incidents which are allowed to be referred to – with clubs to be only allowed to refer to one incident as opposed to the three they were per case previously.
NRL clubs will also only be able to refer to incidents from the last 12 months as opposed to the two year time-frame which was previously in place.
The four-man Match Review Committee for this year will be Robertson, Michael Hodgson and new members Luke Patten and Anthony Quinn.
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The NRL’s head of football Graeme Annesley will instruct the MRC members to focus far more on the actual incidents in question rather than comparing with previous examples to arrive at a grading and charge.
The changes are designed to bring an end to the inconsistencies which riddled rugby league last season.
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The reaction of rugby league fans is expected to be unanimous – good luck.
The move was announced at the NRL’s chief executives’ conference in Perth on Friday.
Gone from last year’s MRC are Buettner and ex-Sharks coach and referees boss Stuart Raper, with the new members Patten and Quinn.
The new four-man MRC panel have more than 900 NRL games combined between them and have each played more than 200 NRL matches.