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Graham Annesley calls for calm over referees

Macquarie Sports Radio

The NRL is urging referees to show more discretion next season in a bid to develop a more ‘free flowing’ game.

A handful of rule changes will reduce the number and length of stoppages.

Head of Football Graham Annesley assured fans the league was working on easing frustrations which were evident throughout the 2018 NRL season.

He told Macquarie Sports Radio referees will be instructed to stay out of the game as much as possible.

“One of our objectives is to deliver attractive football that rewards attack and defence,” he said.

“It’s about getting the balance right – the referees have a role in that but the players do as well.

“The referees will try and stay out of it to an extent they’re allowed to.

“This season, we could see games with a low or high penalty count. That’s in the hand of the players.”

Annesley still has some hope referee Matt Cecchin will answer his call to man the whistle this season.

“He’s keen to go overseas and try his luck at Super League, that’s not a done deal yet, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to see him back in the NRL,” he said.

The new season kicks off on March 14 as Melbourne Storm take on Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park live on Macquarie Sports Radio Melbourne and Perth.

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